Egypt launches portal with three African languages as El-Sisi becomes AU president

Egypt government’s information outlet, the State Information Service (SIS) has launched a new portal with three traditional African languages. This comes as the president of the country Abdel Fattah El-Sisi takes over as African Union’s president.

According to a report, the Head of the SIS, Diaa Rashwan said the portal was a serious attempt to communicate with fellow Africans in local languages. All five languages are live except for Amhara. The three languages are Swahili, Hausa and Amharic the other three being Arabic, English and French. He further stressed that the new information structure, was going to be continued and developed beyond the one-year AU presidency of El-Sisi.

The new website

Why these languages are important

In East and Central Africa, Swahili is a very popular language. Its impact extends further to southern Africa. Swahili is also known as Kiswahili and it is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is largely spoken around the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, which includes Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya,  Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

In West Africa, Hausa is a dominant language which is spoken mainly in northern Nigeria as well as its neighbouring Chad and Niger. It is also spoken in Ghana.

In  Africa’s second most populous nation, Ethiopia, Amharic is a major language and it is spoken by over 21 million people.

The benefit of this website to Egyptians

This move will be beneficial to the country in various areas most especially in the tourism sector.

Tourism is one of the leading sources of income, crucial to Egypt’s economy. At its peak in 2010, the sector employed about 12 percent of Egypt’s workforce serving approximately 14.7 million visitors Egypt and providing revenues of nearly $12.5 billion, as well as contributing more than 11 percent of GDP and 14.4 percent of foreign currency revenues.

However, the tourism sector has been struggling since 2011 when an uprising that ousted then-President Hosni Mubarak started.  Prior to the 2011 Egyptian revolution, a total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010. But during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the number of visitors plummeted by over 37 percent  that year falling from 14 million in 2010 to 9 million by the end of 2011.

The new regime of president El-Sisi has worked hard to create stability and the Red Sea resorts, in particular, have had an increasing number of tourist. These efforts helped Egypt regained some ground in the 2017 rankings of the world’s best country in terms of tourism and travel.

In the first half of 2018, Tourism in Egypt increased by 77 percent to $4.8 billion, compared to the same period in 2017. The recent development on the Egyptian website shows that the country is working towards doubling the figures recorded in 2018. This will help increase the number of West African and East African tourists who intend to visit the country as they can visit the website and get the information needed easily.