Twenty-two countries in Africa list English as an official language, the remains of a shared colonial history. Geographically, culturally, and religiously diverse, these Anglophone African nations span the continent, from Kenya and Tanzania in the east to Sierra Leone and Liberia in the west to South Africa and Botswana in the south.
In some countries, such as Kenya and Zambia, the Church has grown at a remarkable rate over the last century, and Christians now represent a substantial majority of the total population. In countries like Nigeria, the population is more evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. In a small number of English-speaking nations, like Sierra Leone and Sudan, Islam is the dominant religion.
Over the last year, the continent has avoided the worst of COVID’s direct impact, although South Africa, along with several urban centers, has seen especially high cases. While factors across Africa’s 55 countries differ, researchers point to the continent’s younger population, large rural areas, and rapid responses by governments that have faced epidemics before as reasons for why COVID has not been as deadly as initially feared. However, the pandemic’s secondary effects on the economy and food supply remain a significant threat to most of the population and may require years of recovery.
Even as several countries in Anglophone Africa had experienced economic growth, perennial challenges related to poverty, government corruption, and political instability remain. Especially in areas where Christianity is strong, the Church has the potential for significant influence. As the Church has grown, so also have theological schools. Hundreds of schools provide pastoral training and more than a dozen Evangelical schools now offer high-quality PhD programs. In response to the pandemic, many are working hard to teach through online platforms despite weaker Internet infrastructure.
Pray for Christian leaders in Anglophone Africa as they help the Church address significant issues such as religious and ethnic violence, political corruption and instability, poverty and disease, rapid urbanization, and biblical discipleship.
Photo: “View of Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, Kenya” by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash.
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