The inexorable onward march of English

When I first started coming to North Africa almost ten years ago, it was all French. Even Sun partners had no one who could communicate well in English.

Today in the Sheraton Tunis, even the bell boy refused to speak French with me, carrying on a perfectly passable conversation in English.

Most customers, especially (and unsurprisingly) government customers, are still French only, but it’s increasingly common to be able to come here and, as a vendor, hire partners and have business discussions without speaking French.

Speaking French is obviously a massive advantage if you are selling. Speaking English is obviously a massive advantage if you are looking to represent brands and products you want to sell here, or if you are buying.

It’s interesting to see how this opens up the whole market to the world.

It also makes it increasingly difficult for me to keep using my French and keep it at an acceptable spoken level!

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