Rwanda adopts Swahili as an official language

Rwanda lawmakers on Wednesday passed an organic law that established Swahili as an official language in the former French colony.


According to the New Times, Members of parliament  passed an organic law that established Swahili as an official language in the former French colony in line with the East Africa community policy.

“Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2007 and in the statute that establishes this bloc, Swahili is universally used in the region and members are requested to make Swahili one of their official languages,” said Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu

Swahili will be used for administrative purposes, used in official languages in some official documents and becomes the fourth language after Kinyarwanda, English and French.

The minister added apart from the EAC policy learning Swahili also comes with added benefits.

“Swahili as an official language is, on one hand, fulfilling what we are required to do as a member country but, on the other hand, it’s a way to increase the benefits that Rwandans can reap from economic integration.” Said Ms Uwacu.

With the East African passport coming into full operation this January 2017, the bill was passed without going through standing committees for further reviews.

“We are going to introduce a curriculum and teaching material and we will definitely take advantage of the relationship that we have with other partner states who already use the language,”  the minister said

Minister Uwacu clarified that the Presidential order will give the details on when the language will be incorporated in school curriculum.

Swahili is not a language that is historically used in Rwanda; however it is one of the most popular languages in East Africa and would definitely be of added value especially since East African countries had opened their borders to each other’s citizens.


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