If communicating with diverse populations is in your portfolio, you are probably struggling to effectively engage members of African communities living in Australia. African communities are not homogenous, with hundreds of unique languages spoken. French, with an estimated number of 10 million native speakers and over 190 million of people who speak French as a second-language seems to remain under the radar. But as a lingua-franca, translating into French might just be a solution for communities who otherwise would be isolated from information and services. There is a significant number of people of African background living in Australia who speak French and who, where their native languages are not available, would greatly benefit from communication services such as interpreting and translation being offered in French.
Believe it or not, statistics on just how many people born in Africa live in Australia are impossible to find. The latest figures, dating back to 2006, indicate 248,699 people born in Africa were resident in Australia. This accounted for 5.6% of the overseas-born population. Almost three quarters (72.6%) of the Africa-born resident population were from Southern and East Africa, 22.9% from North Africa and 4.5% from the Central and West Africa region. The largest group were born in South Africa (104,133 or 41.9% of the total Africa-born population living in Australia), 13.5% were born in Egypt, 8.1% in Zimbabwe, 7.7% in Sudan, 7.3% in Mauritius, 4.0% in Kenya and 2.3% in Ethiopia. People born in Ethiopia (53.9% or 3,036) and Somalia (60.7% or 2,619) tend to live in Melbourne. Sudanese-born arrivals tend to live in Melbourne (31.1% or 5,930) and Sydney (28.0% or 5,339). 24.0% of all African immigrants as of 2006 lived in Melbourne. Out of those, 63,009 or 25.5 %are from Francophone speaking African areas.
Immigrants to Australia from Francophone Africa (2006 Census):
Côte d’Ivoire (255)
Democratic Republic of the Congo (618)