BBC to launch six new African language services
The British public broadcaster, BBC, on Wednesday announced that it will launch 11 new language services in 2017 as part of its expansion project on the continent.
The new languages will be Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba.
Afaan Oromo and Amharic are widely spoken in Ethiopia with the former also spoken in some parts of Kenya, Somalia and Egypt.
Igbo, Yoruba and the Nigerian Pidgin are spoken mainly in Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa while Tigrinya is mainly spoken in Eritrea and some parts of Ethiopia.
The first new services are expected to launch in 2017.
“This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s,” BBC director general Tony Hall was quoted as saying.
The BBC World Service is one of the UK’s most important cultural exports and one of its best sources of global influence.
The BBC currently reaches 308 million people worldwide, and its goal is to reach 500 million people by 2022.
The list of services to be expanded by 2022 include enhanced TV services for Africa, new radio services for audiences in North Korea and radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The BBC will also expand TV, radio and digital offerings in Somalia, India, Nigeria and Thailand.