French-speaking countries in Africa

French-speaking countries in Africa

Due to extensive French colonization on the African continent, you probably won't be surprised to know that there are many French-speaking countries in Africa. It is estimated that around 97-million people in Africa either use French as a first language or as a second language. This means that it is still widespread, despite all of these countries gaining independence.

Since there are 34 French-speaking countries in Africa, we will not be able to go through all of them. Instead, we want to give you a few 'highlights'.

It is important to note that the French spoken in African countries is different from the French found in France. While there is overlap, the dialect is ever so slightly different. Think of it as being the difference between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Mexico. While the speakers of the language may be able to understand each other when they hop from country to country, there are very small differences in vocabulary and the way that some sentences are structured.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

With 85-million residents, the Democratic Republic of the Congo actually has a higher population than France. However, the reason why the Congo speaks French is not actually down to France. It is due to the fact that the country was regarded as part of Belgium for decades. While there are several different recognized languages in the Congo, French is still the only official language that the country has. This is unlikely to change any time soon.


Morocco can be found as a short hop from Spain. However, Spanish is not one of the spoken languages here.

France is not the main spoken language. That has been replaced by Arabic in recent years. However, it is still taught extensively in schools, and it is likely that if you speak French in Morocco you will be able to find people that understand exactly what you are saying.


Cameroon is an example of just how dominant the United Kingdom and France were many centuries ago.

There are two official languages in Cameroon; French and English. The latter is much more common. However, if you go to Cameroon able to speak both French and English, then you should be able to communicate with just about every person that you encounter.

Ivory Coast

The only official language in the Ivory Coast is French, with no other languages recognized by the government. This means that it is one of the few countries on this list where French will work just about everywhere you go. A lot of African immigration into France happens from the Ivory Coast. The countries are very closely linked, despite the Ivory Coast gaining independence a long time ago.


Several different languages are spoken in Niger, but French remains the only official language for the country.

Remember, these are just a few of the French-speaking countries in Africa. These are the most populated, though. They cover millions of people on the continent and knowing French should be enough to get you by here.

If you're interested in learning French, you should try some of these cool options: Check out Babbel for fun, interactive lessons that fit into your day easily. If you want something more in-depth, there's a great French course on Udemy that covers everything from the basics to more advanced topics. And if you prefer learning with a personal touch, Lingoda offers classes with native speakers that can really help you practice speaking.

What countries in Africa have French as an official language?

Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Rwanda, Congo, Mali, Seychelles, Djibouti, and Senegal.

Where is French most spoken in Africa?

The biggest mostly French-speaking countries in Africa are Madagascar, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Guinea.

How many French speakers are in Africa?

There are approximately 141 million people speaking French in Africa.

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