Bridging Linguistic Gaps: A Look at English Proficiency in Africa

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In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to communicate effectively in English has become a crucial asset for nations seeking to engage in international affairs and participate in the global economy. While many African countries have adopted English as an official language, the path towards achieving widespread proficiency is far from straightforward. The journey is shaped by diverse linguistic environments and the presence of other dominant languages.

A recent English Proficiency Index (EPI) published by EF Education First, a global education company specializing in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange, examined the English-speaking abilities of nations worldwide.

The countries included in the ranking are considered non-native English speakers, and the data is gathered from assessments of 2.1 million adults across 111 countries. These countries are further categorized into five tiers of proficiency: very high, high, moderate, low, and very low.

Among African nations, South Africa stands out as a high-level English speaker, joining the ranks of top-tier countries like the Netherlands, Singapore, Austria, Norway, and Denmark. However, some African countries find themselves in the very low category, representing unique linguistic landscapes where English may not be as widely spoken or understood.

Below are the 10 least proficient English-speaking countries in Africa:

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Rank Country Global ranking Score
1 Democratic Republic of the Congo 113 385
2 Libya 110 392
3 Rwanda 109 405
4 Côte d’Ivoire 107 409
5 Somalia 105 411
6 Benin 101 416
7 Angola 101 416
8 Sudan 97 430
9 Senegal 94 438
10 Cameroon 94 438


Source: Africa Business Insider

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