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No evidence Senegal has changed its official language from French to Arabic

IN SHORT: Senegal, due to its colonial past, speaks French as its official language. However, online claims that it has replaced French with Arabic are false.

Senegal was France’s oldest colony in Africa until it gained independence in 1960. France has an air base in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, and the two countries have strong political and economic ties.

The people of the West African country speak many languages, including Wolof, Fulani, Serer, French (official language) and Arabic. 

Islam is the main religion and the Qur’an, the holy book, is written in Arabic.

But claims have surfaced online that the country has changed its official language from French to Arabic.

One of the several Facebook posts making the claim reads: “BREAKING: Senegal announced it is adopting Arabic as its official language, abandoning French.”

The claim can also be seen here, and here

But has Senegal changed its official language from French to Arabic? We checked.

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SenegalLanguage_False

No evidence of official language change 

Senegal is a member of the Organisation Internationale De La Francophonie, which promotes the French language and political, educational, economic and cultural cooperation among its member states. 

Such a major change, if true, would have been reported in the local and international media. But our search for credible media reports on Senegal's alleged official language change came up empty.

No such switch has been publicly announced. The Senegalese government's official social media and websites remain in French.

The same claim has been debunked by our Senegal country office here.

The false claim can also be seen here, here, here and here.

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