Voice of America’s Africa division launched newscasts in Lingala earlier this month, bringing to 46 the total number of languages in which the agency broadcasts around the world.
Lingala is spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as parts of Central Africa Republic and Angola.
For 64 million people who speak Lingala, VOA will be the first international broadcaster to reach them in their own language. Lingala is understood by 80 percent of the DRC population, twice the number of people who understand French.
The new broadcasts will be added to the French to Africa language service offerings and will include 15 minutes of radio content (Monday through Friday) focusing on news from Africa division reporting and from Lingala reporters on the ground, as well as on public health-related issues like Ebola and HIV/AIDS.
The launch of the Lingala broadcasts is designed to boost efforts to promote democracy, transparency, and the rule of law ahead of December presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.