With more than 200m native speakers globally, Arabic isn’t just one of the fastest growing tongues on Twitter, it’s also one of the fastest growing languages on the whole Web. This might also explain why it recently usurped English as Facebook’s top lingo in the Middle East.

With that in mind, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) has launched its iPad app in Arabic, expanding the global reach of an app which launched initially last September in English, followed by Spanish and Portuguese in November.

The AFP is a French news agency, one of the oldest in the world having been founded in 1835, and alongside the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, it is among the most well-known and recognized agencies globally.

The iPad app provides access to a selection of news stories, photographs, video and graphics produced by AFP’s Arabic editorial desk which is backed by an international network of journalists.

iPadAppAFP AFP opens its iPad app to the Middle East and beyond with new Arabic edition

“Thanks to its 16 offices in the Near and Middle East, AFP is the leading news agency in the Arab-speaking world,” says AFP Chairman and Chief Executive Emmanuel Hoog. “We bolstered our presence in the field in 2011. The launch of an iPad application in Arabic confirms our aim of boosting our presence and links in a changing region.”

The best of international news is available in real time from the app’s homepage which highlights the latest general news in video and stills. The Front page, World, Middle East, Sports and Economy sections can be accessed from the homepage along with a selection of alerts via a screentop breaking news ticker within the app.

The launch of the Arabic version comes at the same time as an update of the app across all languages, which now includes Facebook and Twitter sharing functions.

2011 was a tumultuous year for the Middle East, but the troubles also served as a reminder of the role technology can play in giving everyone a voice. As a major Arabic-speaking region, the AFP has clearly realized the need to better cater for the Middle East and other Arab nations around the world.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press partnered with Bambuser to bring citizen journalism videos to the masses.

AFP | iPad Edition