English is the most widely spoken language in the world. The majority of English speakers in the world today speak it as a second language. This begs the following question: where are the world’s best non-native English speakers? A recent report released by EF Education First has an answer. This report lists all countries, excluding those in which English is spoken as a first language, and how they rank in English proficiency.
Northern European countries sit on top of the rank as being the most fluent speakers. The Netherlands tops the list followed by Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, respectively. On the other hand, Middle Eastern countries are the least fluent, with Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia sitting at the bottom of the ranking.
It should be noted, however, that these results are not representative nor are they comprehensive. The results were based on online tests taken by 2.3m volunteers from different 100 countries. This raises obvious problems such as only people with an internet connection, time, and willingness would take the test. That said, the results are very likely to be biased towards richer countries while Many African countries, where access to the internet is limited, did not have many test takers to start with ( 400 test-takers at best), thus dragging their mean to the bottom.