Is language important when considering business investment in Africa ?


Language is a critical element when doing business as it assist in easy understanding of one’s product by the target community.

According to research conducted by the African Press Organisation (APO), about sixteen African countries have two or more official languages.

According to APO, some of these languages are spoken by just a few communities and others are used by millions of people and hundreds of media houses.


“Sixteen African countries have two or more official languages and your choice of language for your PR activities can directly affect your return on investment (ROI),” said the APO.

“Language is a crucial factor when planning press release distribution or another PR activity in Africa. If you want the African media houses to spread your message, it is common courtesy to provide content in their working language or languages.”

The Press Organisation added that understanding which languages are spoken in which areas was important to the success of any campaign activity in Africa.

“For example, if you’re planning press release distribution or another PR activity in East Africa, you’ll want to include the Swahili language.

“This language is spoken by over 100 million people. Another example, Luganda, is the major language of Uganda, spoken by over 16 million people and used by some of the most influential media houses in Uganda.”

APO has released a Language Search Tool, which includes all 54 African countries.

The Language Search Tool shows which languages are spoken in the areas one is targeting for press release or other public relations activities in Africa.

“After using this tool, even if only once, you’ll understand how diverse the languages of this continent are.

“If you want to reach the maximum number of people and do so in a way that is clear and well-received, English, French, Arabic and Portuguese are not enough; it is imperative that you take into consideration the wide variety of languages spoken in Africa.”