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Complete List of Arabic Speaking Countries – 2023 Update

In this article, we provide a complete list of Arabic speaking countries in 2023. Not only do we list Arab nations whose official language is Arabic, but also countries whose co-official language is Arabic. The first list provided is Arabic-speaking countries sorted in alphabetical order. This article also includes data on GDP, population, and sections for each dialectal group of colloquial Arabic. The same data is provided for countries with sizable populations of Arabic speakers or whose co-official language is Arabic.

Arabic Speaking Countries List in Alphabetical Order

Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
arabic countries list


Brief Background on Arabic and the Arab World

As many as 456 million people worldwide speak Arabic, making it the fifth most spoken language. The word “Arab” means “nomad”, which makes sense considering Arabic originated from nomadic tribes in the desert regions of the Arabian Peninsula. Arabic language evolved from Nabataean Aramaic script and has been used since the 4th century CE.  It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters similar to the English alphabet. Arabic belongs to the “Semitic” group of languages and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic.  It has been preserved since the 7th century CE through the Prophet Muhammad’s revelations recorded in the Qur’an. By the 8th Century CE, Arabic began spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa as many people converted to Islam. All Muslims are obliged to use Arabic in prayer. Today, the Arab world is as region composed of countries in the Middle East and North Africa where Arabic is an official language. Arabic speaking countries are immensely diverse from one another in terms of their history, culture, politics, and spoken dialects.

List of Arabic Speaking Countries by GDP

In total, Arabic-speaking countries have a collective GDP of $3.56 trillion. This is approximately 3.5% of the Gross World Product (GWP). Many countries in the Arab world are considered emerging markets. The Arab world is most notable for petroleum production, specifically in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia produces the second most amount of oil in the world with Iraq, UAE, and Kuwait ranking 6, 8, and 10 respectively. Many of these countries’ economies solely depend on oil revenues.  In Qatar, the Arab country with the largest GDP growth (4.8%), petroleum accounts for more than 70% of total government revenue, more than 60% of gross domestic product, and roughly 85% of export earnings. However, petroleum is not the only industry in the Arab world. For example, Jordan does not have oil or other resources for energy production. Instead, services in Jordan account for more than 67% of GDP. The banking sector in Jordan is one of the strongest in the region. Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East and is headquartered in Jordan’s capital Amman. The Arab world is also diverse in regard to living standards. Qatar has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world at $88,046 whereas Yemen has one of the lowest at $676.


Country GDP 2022 (millions of USD)
Saudi Arabia 1,108,148.90
United Arab Emirates 507,534.92
Egypt 476,747.72
Iraq 264,182.17
Algeria 191,912.80
Qatar 237,295.58
Kuwait 184,558.27
Sudan 51,662.24
Morocco 134,181.59
Oman 114,667.36
Lebanon 23,131.94
Jordan 47,451.50
Tunisia 46,664.95
Libya 45,752.34
Bahrain 44,390.82
Yemen 21,606.16
Syria 11,159.27
Palestine 19,110.00
Mauritania 10,375.46
Total Arab countries GDP 3,540,533.99


The complete list of Arabic-speaking countries and capitals.
Download the full list in alphabetical order.


Arabic Speaking Frontier Markets & Least Developed Countries

There are a handful of Arabic-speaking countries that either fall into the category of a Frontier market or are considered a Least Developed Country (LDC). Frontier markets typically have large market opportunities and high potential for rapid growth. On the other hand these markets are often much riskier than established markets and the lack of infrastructure can make doing business complicated. Arabic LDCs are Arabic-speaking countries that show the lowest economic development. Countries like Syria torn by war actually experience contraction in their economy instead of growth and negative GDP as value flows out of the country. It’s important to note that even in these markets there are still some industries and products that do well and experience growth. The study of economics tells us that inferior goods are products that increase in demand as incomes decrease. Bus travel is an example of an inferior good that people turn as their incomes decrease. That said, even some expensive products see a growth in demand in these countries while the economy contracts.  For example Armored vehicles are in high demand in war torn Arab nations where safety is a primary concern.

Below is a list of 4 Arab countries that fall into this category.

  • Libya
  • Sudan (North)
  • Syria
  • Yemen


List of Arabic Speaking Countries by Population

The total estimated population of the Arab World is 456 million people (2022). This region stretches from Morocco in Northern Africa to Dubai in the Persian Gulf. Egypt is the most populous country in the region, and Bahrain is the least populous. Many countries in this region have very high population growth rates. For example, Oman and Qatar have population growth rates in the world at 1.2% and 0.3% respectively. Approximately 90% of people in the Arab world identify as Muslim, while 6% are Christian and 4% make up other various religions. The majority of people in this region are ethnically Arab but other major ethnic groups include Berber and Kurdish. Below is the complete Arabic Speaking Countries list sorted by population:

Country Population
Egypt 112,716,598.00
Sudan 48,109,006.00
Algeria 45,606,480.00
Iraq 45,504,560.00
Morocco 37,840,044.00
Saudi Arabia 36,947,025.00
Yemen 34,449,825.00
Syria 23,227,014.00
Somalia 18,143,378.00
Tunisia 12,458,223.00
Jordan 11,337,052.00
United arab emirates 9,516,871.00
Libya 6,888,388.00
Palestine 5,371,230.00
Lebanon 5,353,930.00
Mauritania 4,862,989.00
Oman 4,644,384.00
Kuwait 4,310,108.00
Qatar 2,716,391.00
Bahrain 1,485,509.00
Djibouti 1,136,455.00
Comoros 852,075.00
Total Arab population 473,477,535.00


Other Arab Speaking Countries

Many countries also list Arabic as a Co-official language or have sizable Arabic speaking communities. However, Arabic is a minority language in all of these countries. For example, Chad has two official languages, French and MSA Arabic, as well as over 120 indigenous languages.

Country GDP (millions USD) Population
Chad 12,704.15 18,347,858
Comoros 1,242.52 853,991
Djibouti 3,515.11 599,504
Eritrea 2,065.00 3,757,125
Israel 522,033.45 9,191,432
Somalia 8,126.11 18,211,965
South Sudan 11,997,800.76 11,111,465

Dialects of Arabic

There are three forms of Arabic: Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Qur’anic Arabic / Classical Arabic, and Colloquial Arabic. MSA is the official modern language of the Arab world and is derived from the Qur’an. MSA is widely taught in schools and universities throughout Arab speaking countries. It is also used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media throughout the Arab World.

Despite the existence of MSA, Arabic-Speakers grow up speaking the dialect of their region. Every Arabic speaking country has its own form of colloquial Arabic that differs radically from MSA. A single dialect of colloquial Arabic may be common throughout an entire region or specific to one country. The major Arabic dialectal groups are:

Dialect Areas Spoken Number of Speakers
Egyptian Egypt 77,000,000
Gulf Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE 36,056,000
Hassaniya Mauritania, southern Morocco, south western Algeria, Western Sahara 9,500,000
Levantine Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria 48,000,000
Maghrebi Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia 70,000,000
Mesopotamian / Iraqi Iraq, eastern Syria 15,655,900
Sudanese Sudan, Southern Egypt 33,000,000
Yemeni Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti, southern Saudi Arabia 15,000,000





Arabic speaking countries in Africa

Arabic speaking countries in Africa include Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Western Sahara.

Arabic speaking countries in Asia

Arabic speaking countries in Asia include Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, The UAE, and Yemen.

Non-Arabic speaking countries in the Middle East

Non-Arabic speaking countries in the Middle East include Israel, Turkey, and Iran. All three countries do have Arabic speaking residents but Arabic is not the first language of these Middle East countries.
Written by Scott Ridout

World Economic Outlook Database

Population Analysis of the Arabic Languages

Map of Arabic Dialects

Population and GDP


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Updated by:

Jordan Boshers

Jordan Boshers is the Chief Digital Strategist at IstiZada, a digital agency that helps companies market to Arabs. He has 10+ years of experience running successful digital marketing campaigns in the Arab world. His insights into Arabic SEO helped him grow previously unknown websites to dominate Arabic niches on Google including growing one site from 0 to more than 1 million users monthly. Jordan has consulted for hundreds of companies including helping corporations like Amazon, Berlitz, and Exxon Mobil with their Arabic digital marketing. Learn more here or on LinkedIn.