Kenyans are the second most fluent English speakers in Africa, according to a ranking by global private language tutor, Education First (EF), a ranking that places the country at a prime position to attract foreign investments.
The English Proficiency Index (EPI) by the Switzerland-based firm ranks Kenya behind South Africa but Nairobi still remains the highest placed African city.
Globally, Kenya was placed is ranked position 18 while South Africa came in sixth, Nigeria (29) and Ethiopia at 63. with Netherlands being ranked top in competency level.
English, considered the global lingua franca of business, and has been adopted across the world as a bridging language to lower transaction costs across borders.
The EF report associates English proficiency with innovation, public investment in research and development, number of researchers per a population of one million as well as technicians per capita.
According to the firm, countries that rank high in English language skills experience higher labor productivity and stand a higher chances of economic growth because language skills help economies to remain competitive by eliminating barriers to communication.
The report also says that as much as there could be evidence that the pace of globalization 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.
The report consistently found 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 growth projected from efficiency in the language has also been linked to the services sectors where communication is essential and binds the larger share of economic activities.