Spanish Speaking Countries in Africa

Equatorial Guinea, Africa's only Spanish-speaking country.
Equatorial Guinea, Africa's only Spanish-speaking country.

It is estimated that there are 477 million speakers of Spanish language who can claim to be native, while the number of speakers who use it as first or the second language are approximately 572 million people worldwide. It is also estimated that about 21 million students of Spanish are learning the language. 19 countries in the Americas use Spanish as the official language. In the European Union, the language is used by approximately 8% of the population as the mother tongue, and approximately 7% use it as a second language. Spanish is also the second most learned language in the United States. In 2011, out of the 55 million Hispanic individuals living in the US about 38 million use the Spanish language at home.

Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa where Spanish is an official language. The country is found in central Africa and occupies an area of 11,000 square miles. The country had a population of 1,222,245 as of 2015. Equatorial Guinea is made up of two parts: the mainland and the islands. The islands are made up of the island of Bioko which is found on the Gulf of Guinea and the tiny island of Annobon which is on the insular region of the country and is also located to the south of the equator.

About Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is among the largest oil producers in sub-Sahara Africa and has the highest per capita income in the continent. Its GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity is the 43rd highest in the world. Despite its riches, the country has the highest uneven distribution of wealth, and the proceeds from oil have benefited only a few residents in the country. According to the United Nations, the country is ranked at position 135 regarding human development index as of 2016. About half of Equatorial Guinea's population do not access to safe and clean drinking water, and about 20% of children in the country die before they reach the age of five.

Official Languages

The official languages of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea are Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The Spanish used in the country is known as "Equatoguinean Spanish" and is slightly different from the dialects of Spanish that are used in South America and Spain. In 2010, the Portuguese language was also adopted as one of the official languages of the country. The Spanish language has been used as the official language in Equatorial Guinea from 1844, and presently it is the preferred language in administration and education. About 67.26% of the populations in the country can speak Spanish, particularly those who live in the capital city of Malabo. The French language was introduced as another official language with the intention that the country could have better resemblance to the neighboring Francophone nations. However, the language is not spoken by the majority of the locals - it is mostly spoken in parts of the country along the borders.

Indigenous Languages

There are other indigenous languages in the country recognized as part of the national culture and recognized under the law. Some indigenous languages used in the country include Ndowe, Benga, Balengue, Fang, Igbo, Bube, Pichingilis, Bujemba, Gumu, Bissio, and Fa d’Ambô. Baseke is one of the local Languages that is almost extinct. The majority of the ethnic groups in the country speak the Bantu language. Fa d’Ambô is a creole language based on Portuguese and is widely used in the province of Annobon and the capital city of Malabo.


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