SOURCE: GlobalEnglish Corporation

GlobalEnglish Corporation

February 08, 2011 08:06 ET

Africa Has Over 1,500 Languages but Lacks the Business English Communication Skills Required for Global Business Growth

94% of Surveyed Respondents in a New Report of Africa-Based Companies Think That Their Employees Could Be More Effective at Work With Improved English Skills

BRISBANE, CA--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - GlobalEnglish Corporation (, the leading provider of on-demand learning and support for business English communication, today released a report based on a survey of Africa-based companies and the rapidly growing need for stronger business English communication skills in the African workforce.

With an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 languages currently spoken across Africa, Africa's multilingual workforce faces great productivity and business execution challenges related to fluid communication skills. South Africa alone has 11 official languages, and while English is the language of business, politics and the media, it ranks only fifth as a native tongue.

"Africa joins China and India as the top three emerging markets with the highest projected growth for 2011," says Tom Kahl, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales at GlobalEnglish. "Africa has experienced a momentous expansion of multinational companies. That development has also revealed a progressively widening gap between the business growth rate and the business English communication skills required by the African workforce to compete globally."

Together with Africa-based partner, LRMG, GlobalEnglish conducted the survey in late 2010 to measure the demand for, and increasing use of, English as the business language of African companies. The survey additionally examined the difficulties those companies are facing with such a diverse multilingual workforce.

Key findings from the survey confirmed that English is the business language of Africa.

  • 95% said that English is the preferred business language for their company
  • 85% said English communication skills are important for enabling companies to meet business objectives
  • 63% said that English is dictated as the official business language of their company
  • 66% said English is used exclusively for written communication in their businesses

70% of respondents indicated that less that 50% of employees at their companies speak English as a first language. Yet the findings revealed that most companies are delayed in providing workforce English skill assessment and development tools.

  • Only 22% measure the English communication skills of their managers, executives or employees
  • Only 34% are part of companies that currently have training programs to develop English communication skills
  • Of the 28% that regularly translate documents into English, some indicated their companies spend as much as 100,000 rand a year on translation costs (approximately 13,700 USD)

75% of respondents said they would be interested in investing in a program to improve the business English communication skills of their employees if it would increase individual productivity by an average of 1 hour per week.

"The African workforce embraces opportunities to develop stronger business skills through technology more than many other global markets," said GlobalEnglish Executive Vice President of Product Development, Mahesh Ram. "Competent business English skills directly equate to increased individual and business performance, and greater opportunities for companies to compete globally."

GlobalEnglish provides on-demand business English communication development and on-the-job support tools to employees at 106 forward-thinking companies in Africa, including Volvo, Caterpillar, MTN Group and GlaxoSmithKline.

For a full copy of the report visit: GlobalEnglish Report: Africa, an Emerging Marketing, a Growing Need for Business English

About GlobalEnglish Corporation

GlobalEnglish offers solutions for EnterpriseFluency: the communication, collaboration, and operational proficiency companies must have to compete in today's global economy. EnterpriseFluency is the measure of a company's ability to apply their company-wide gains in business English skills to improve the ease with which their global teams can communicate and collaborate with each other and the effectiveness with which the company can operate across country borders.

We have more than 500 enterprises partnering with us globally, including BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, GSK, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton, John Deere, Procter & Gamble, Unisys, and Wyeth. Our comprehensive, on-demand software solution is available in 15 languages for instant, on-the-job support for business tasks in English -- such as writing emails -- and programs for building lasting Business English proficiency. Headquartered in Brisbane, California, we have global reach to 30 countries.

For more information, please visit