Kenyans are very fluent English speakers, in fact they speak better English than citizens of developed nations and rank only behind South Africans as the most polished speakers in Africa.
The EF EPI English Proficiency Index which ranks countries based on English proficiency ranks Kenya 18th out of 100 globally and second in Africa.
Conversely, the report also ranks Kenya ahead of many developed countries including France (31) and Spain (35).
In the report, Kenya features in the High Proficiency category where Very High Proficiency is the best category followed by High Proficiency, Moderate Proficiency, Low Proficiency, and Very Low Proficiency respectively.
The Netherlands is ranked as the most proficient country while Libya is ranked as the least proficient. South Africa and Kenya are the only African nations to be ranked in the top 30 with the former ranked at sixth position.
In what entrenches the country’s fine education standards, Nairobi is ranked as the city with the most proficient English speakers in Africa in the High Proficiency category.
No other African city features in the positive proficiency (very high, high and moderate) ranking.
Nairobi is ranked ahead of Paris (France), Lyon (France), Barcelona (Spain), Madrid (Spain), Belgrade (Serbia), Lagos (Nigeria), Milan (Italy) and Moscow (Russia).
Amsterdam (Netherlands), Stockholm (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) are ranked as the first, second and third most proficient cities respectively while Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) are ranked as cities with very low English proficiency levels.
The English proficiency index authored by English First, an education company that specializes in language training acts as a metre for the levels of education in a particular country as well as market its talent in an age where networking across borders is becoming increasingly necessary.
“More than a billion people speak as a first or second language, and hundreds of millions more as a third or fourth. For expanding businesses, young graduates, scientists and researchers, and international tourists, English proficiency broadens horizons, lowers barriers, and speeds information exchange. The incentives to learn English have never been greater,” reads the report.
“The growth of the gig economy asks people to transition quickly from declining to emerging opportunities,” further reads the report.
Education First, however, observes that the levels of English proficiency are improving across the world.
“The worldwide, population-weighted average English proficiency score remained stable, but 11 countries’ scores improved significantly (meaning they gained more than two points), while only four experienced significant declines,” further reads the report.
“There are more countries in the Very High Proficiency band this year than ever before,” it adds.