AngolaAngola | CultureCulture

Making English an official language can turbo-charge Angola’s economy

The time has come for Angola to adopt English as an additional official language, as it is the world’s most widely spoken language and has 1.5 billion speakers. Research shows a direct correlation between a population’s English skills and the economic performance of the country, with indicators like GNI and GDP rising. Adopting English will turbo-charge Angola’s economic development, making it easier for foreign companies to invest and do business in the country and for Angolan businesses to expand internationally. Additionally, English language proficiency would enable Angolan citizens to command better jobs and higher salaries, improving the quality of life of themselves and their families, and leading to increased tax revenues that can fund government-provided services.

The shift to English has had a positive impact on African economies, with Rwanda’s economy growing by 7.2% a year and its per-head GDP growing by 5%. However, Angola has the fourth lowest score of African countries evaluated in the EF English Proficiency Index. To improve this, a comprehensive, multi-faceted rollout of English language education is needed, with foreign national English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructors deployed to primary and secondary schools as well as universities. Immersion classes and training in English for teachers already employed are also needed.

English should be a mandatory subject from the first year of schooling, with a target date for it to become the official medium of instruction once teachers are sufficiently competent. CEPI, a highly reputable school run by ABO Capital in Luanda, has introduced Maple Bear, a globally renowned Canadian education system that brings bilingual instruction and international academic standards to schools around the world. Angola should also provide free or subsidized English language ‘night schools’ for adults and tax credits or subsidies for workplace English language training. Additionally, Angola could drastically increase the amount of English language programming on TV and radio, with news bulletins also reverting to English. These interventions will ensure that Angola is fully able to reap the economic and social rewards of making English an official language.

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