Here are seven reasons why investors and businesspeople should be paying attention to it.

1. Swahili is spoken by over 100m people in Africa so it’s pretty hard to ignore a language that’s spoken by so many people. Its importance as a lingua franca is recognised by foreign media organisations such as the BBC, which broadcasts radio programmes in Swahili. Voice of America and Deutsche Welle have adopted similar tactics in their attempts to appeal to readers on the continent.

2. If you’re dealing with East Africa in any way, then it’s essential you take notice of the Swahili language. Swahili is a Bantu language and therefore spoken by many communities that inhabit the Great Lakes region and other areas of southeast Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique. It’s particularly useful to have knowledge of Swahili if doing business in Kenya. The country is the largest economy in East and Central Africa and has seen massive growth in areas such as telecommunications in the last decade.

3. Swahili is the national or official language of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as being one of the official languages of the East African Community and African Union. It is a language of influence politically, economically and socially, and a knowledge of it can deepen business relationships.

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