This is also Appendix II (Section 12.2) of the Survey Document
On this page/Sur cette page... (hide)
When considering localisation on the African continent, it is often necessary to consider the issue of scripts used. Pages on the major scripts give background (historic, technical with regard to computing in Africa) and brief overviews of technical issues important to localisation.
The whole continent to one degree or another uses the Latin script even in regions where other scripts are dominant. This is a legacy of colonial history and current global realities. And indeed, many countries, especially south of the Sahara, use only this script, although often with additional modified characters.
There are of course living writing systems established much earlier on the continent (Tifinagh, Ge'ez/Ethiopic, Arabic), as well as other newer indigenous ones (such as Vai, Mende KiKaKui, Bamum, N'ko, and Mandombe).
There are other ways to look at what is a "writing system" that include various kinds of designs and graphical elements that can be used individually or in combinations to convey various concepts and ideas. The African Writing Systems website mentioned below has some information on these.
In the context of localization, however, we are focusing on scripts that represent the full range of a language's communication.
ISO-15924 defines 4-letter codes and 3-number codes for various writing systems, including many of the above. These may be used in the locale defitions or in HTML markup, but in most cases they are not necessary (you would not need to use a code for Arabic script for a webpage in Arabic language, for instance). For a complete list of the codes, see http://www.unicode.org/iso15924/iso15924-codes.html .
These codes are also available as part of the IANA registry of codes at http://www.iana.org/assignments/language-subtag-registry
A brief overview of ways people adapt African language orthographies for text in ICT is given in a revised version of an article from several years ago: African Language Text Issues.