Select Sub-Saharan African languages and their Wikipedias
Major Sub-Saharan African languages and their Wikipedias
|Wiki code||Language||Primary Country||Number of speakers (Millions)||Potential Users (Thousands)||Number of articles (7-09)||# of articles >1500 bytes (7-09)||Articles, 1 year growth rate (5/08-5/09)||# of 5+editors (5-09)||5+ editors, 1 year growth rate (5/08-5/09)||5+ editors,2 year growth rate (5/07-5/09)||Article to editor ratio|
|kg||Kongo||Democratic Republic of the Congo||11||440||569||11||31%||13||63%||117%||44|
|Smaller Sub-Saharan African Languages with Wikipedias of more than 500 Articles|
*Includes second language speakers
Sub-Saharan African languages
- There are over 230 million speakers of the 12 major Sub-Saharan African languages listed, comprising 28% of the population.
- All of the 15 languages listed are official languages of one or more Sub-Saharan African country or state. There are newspapers printed in all of the languages except for Shona
- Most of these languages have existed as written languages for a very short period of time and are not the primary languages of communication amongst the well educated. Therefore, these languages have a very limited literature.
- There are many other languages spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa, these 12 were chosen due to their large number of speakers, status as official languages and existence of Wikipedias in these languages
Sub-Saharan African languages and education
- All of the languages listed are used as mediums of instruction at the elementary school levels in different states and countries in sub-Saharan Africa
- Some of these languages are also taught at the secondary level in some localities.
- The former colonial languages are the primary languages for higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Internet penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Despite the large number of speakers of several of these languages, most people lack access to computers and the Internet, with Internet use rates of 4% of the population for the region as a whole. Additionally, most people in Sub-Saharan Africa with Internet access use colonial languages as their primary language for written communication.
- Mobile phone penetration is significantly more widespread than Internet penetration. Additionally, some countries have built up 3G networks enabling people to access the Internet via their phone 
Sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias
- Growth of sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias has generally been very slow. To date only three Wikipedias, Swahili, Yoruba, and Afrikaans, have more than 5000 articles.
- Many Sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias have shown almost no growth. There are 13 Wikipedias of sub-Saharan African languages with more than 3 million speakers that have less than 500 articles
- Most African language Wikipedias lack tools and support structures such as templates, info boxes and village pumps that support editing
Amongst Sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias, only Swahili and Afrikaans have shown steady growth
Most Sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias have shown minimal growth
Few Sub-Saharan language Wikipedias have many articles greater then 1.5Kb
Barriers to the growth of Sub-Saharan African language Wikipedias
- Lack of source materials in African languages
- Lack of Internet access amongst people who use African native languages as their primary written language
- Lack of Wikipedia tools to facilitate editing in African languages and a lack of editors who have the technical skills to address problems and fix bugs
- Lack of time to devote to Wikipedia projects amongst people in Africa who have Internet access
- Prestige of former colonial languages (mostly English, French, Portuguese, including for religious purposes in Christian communities), or Arabic (for religious purposes in countries where Islam dominates or takes a significant share), and illiteracy in the vernacular
- Until September 2009, poor connections between Africa and the Internet. 
- Information on languages from Ethnologue 2009 http://www.ethnologue.com Potential users is calculated by multiplying the number of language speakers by the national or regional Internet use rate. Internet use rates from from the International Telecom Union 2008
- Information on Internet use from International Telecommunications Union 2008 /
- see comment on sub-Saharan Africa regional analysis talk page Talk:Reach/Regional_Analysis/Sub-Saharan_Africa
- BBC retrieved 2nd Oct 2009