This dataset is part of a 3-4 month Fellowship Program within the AI4D – African Language Program, which was conceptualized as part of a roadmap to work towards better integration of African languages on digital platforms, in aid of lowering the barrier of entry for African participation in the digital economy.

This particular dataset is being developed through a process covering a variety of languages and NLP tasks, in particular Machine Translation of Ewe.

Language profile: Ewe

Language profile for Ewe
Language profile for Ewe


Ewe (Èʋe or Èʋegbe [èβeɡ͡be]) is a Niger–Congo language spoken in Togo and southeastern Ghana by approximately 4.5 million people as a first language and a million or so more as a second language.[1] Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called Gbe; the other major Gbe language is Fon of Benin. Like many African languages, Ewe is tonal.


In Togo and Ghana where ewe is heavily spoken, it is the main communication medium in major economic hubs especially in Togo where it is the most spoken language in the capital city Lome and also one of the two national languages of the country. In Ghana, ewe is part of the 11 government-sponsored languages apart from the official language english.[2] In 2020, the majority of children growing up in major cities in the Togo still picks up as their first language, a dialect of ewe depending on the region of the country they are from. The majority of the speakers at this day can speak ewe but not write it with the appropriate alphabet and orthography. The written communications in ewe usually happen using the english/french alphabet to write the sounds made by the words. Some schools in the capital offer ewe courses at secondary school level but those are generally optional and focus only on basics.

Nevertheless, in Togo, while the communication in schools and formally registered companies takes place in french, ewe remains the most used language in critical settings such as :

  • Market places
  • Medical centers
  • In apprenticeship for a major array of occupations such as hairdressing, tailoring, engine repairing, carpenting, agriculture among other manual jobs that make up 90% of the jobs and 30% of the GDP of the country. [3]
  • at police stations
  • in banking or telecommunications agencies
  • in shops and restaurants

Existing Work

Apart from sparse efforts of actors in the academic and literary fields and from some associations, there has not been any federated effort from the togolese government. Wycliffe-togo [4] is however one of the most prominent associations in the country organizing events and doing work to promote local languages. There exist a few ewe-english/french dictionaries online but the most popular ones remain the glosbe dictionary on the web [5], the Kasahorow Evegbe English Dictionary [6] and the mobile Ewe Dictionary [7] on the Android play store. In the academic world, a lot of work has been done especially regarding the tone, the syntax but also on other aspects such as the anthropological, lexicographical and phonological domains by both foreign and local (ghanain) researchers. [1]

Example of sentence in Ewe

Ewe : Ne ati aɖe le nya dim ɣesiaɣi le fíá wo ŋuti la, mumu ye le dzrom.

English : A tree which provokes axes wishes to be cut down.

Researcher Profile: Kevin Degila

Kevin is a Machine Learning Research Engineer at Konta, an AI startup based in Casablanca. he holds an engineering degree in Big Data and AI and it’s currently enrolled in a PhD program focused on business document understanding at Chouaib Doukkali University. In his day to day activities, Kevin train, deploy and monitor in production machine learning models. With his friends, they lead TakwimuLab, an organisation working on training the next young, french speaking, west africans talents in AI and solving real-life problems with their AI skills. In his spare time, Kevin also create programming and AI educational content on Youtube and play video games.

Researcher Profile: Momboladji Balogoun

Momboladji BALOGOUN is the Data Analyst of Gozem, a company providing ride-hailing and other services in West and Central Africa. He is a former Data Scientist at Rintio, an IT startup based in Benin, that uses data and AI to create business solutions for other enterprises. Momboladji holds a M.Sc. degree in Applied Statistics from ICMPA UNESCO Chair, Cotonou, and migrated to the Data Science field after having attended a regional Big Data Bootcamp in his country Benin. He aims to pursue a Ph.D. program on low resources languages speech to speech translation. Bola created Takwimu LAB in August 2019, and he leads it currently with 3 other friends in order to promote Data Science in their countries, but also the creation and the use of AI to solve real-life problems in their communities. His hobbies are: Reading, Documentaries, and Tourism.

Researcher Profile: Godson Kalipe

Godson started in the IT field with software engineering with a specialization on mobile applications. After his bachelor in 2015, he worked for a year as web and mobile application developer before joining a master in India in Big Data Analytics. His master thesis consisted comparative analysis of international news impact on economic indicators of African countries using news Data, Google Cloud storage and visualization assets. After his Master,

in 2019, he gained a first experience as Data Engineer creating data ingestion pipelines for real time sensor data at Activa Inc, India. He parallely has been working with Takwimu Lab on various projects with the aim of bringing AI powered solutions to common african problems and make the field more popular in the west African francophone industry.

Researcher Profile: Jamiil Toure

Jamiil is a design engineer in electrical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi (EPAC), Benin in 2015 and a master graduate in mathematical sciences from African School of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Senegal in 2018. Passionate of languages and Natural Language Processing (NLP), he contributes to the Masakhane project by working on the creation of a dataset for the language Dendi.

Meanwhile, he complements his education on NLP concepts via online courses, events, conferences for a future research career in NLP. With his friends at Takwimu Lab they work at creating active learning and working environments to foster the applications and usages of AI to tackle real-life problems. Currently, Jamiil is a consultant in Big Data at Cepei – a think tank based in Bogota that promotes dialogue, debate, knowledge and multi-stakeholder participation in global agendas and sustainable development.


Partners in Cracking the Language Barrier for a Multilingual Africa
Partners in Cracking the Language Barrier for a Multilingual Africa


The designations employed and the presentation of material on these map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or any area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Final boundary between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined. Final status of the Abyei area is not yet determined.