English Proficiency in Kenya: Kenyans have been rated as the second most fluent English speakers in Africa. This ranking was done by Education First, a global private language tutor which is based in Switzerland.
The English Proficiency Index (EPI) ranked Kenya behind South Africa. The rank also saw Nairobi emerge as the highest placed African city. Globally, Kenya was placed at position 18 while South Africa came in sixth. The ranking placed Netherlands as the world’s best in competency level.
The EF report linked English proficiency to innovation, public investment in research and development, number of researchers per a population of one million as well as technicians per capita.
“Although there is evidence that the pace of globalisation is slowing, international trade is a significant portion of the world economy, with exports making up around 20 percent of the world’s economic output. We consistently find a correlation between ease of doing business and a country’s English proficiency, as well as speaking English and a range of logistics-related indicators,” the report says.
Countries with higher ranks in English language skills experience higher labour productivity and stand a higher chance of economic growth compared to others, as language skills help economies to remain competitive by removing the communication barrier.
“Language use is tied to a country’s service exports as well as the value added per worker in services. As the complexity and sophistication of economic exchange increases, so does the demand for linguistic competencies. A growing number of MBA programmes demand fluency in English and a second, sometimes third, language”.
An additional report that appeared in the Business Daily further noted that the mastery of English has also been used as one measure of the level of skilled workforce in a country, with EF saying it could increase employability.