Do I need to be able to speak Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa?
The answer is you don’t necessarily have to be able to speak Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa, but you probably should.
The reason is that Arab people love their language, have a great deal of respect for it and tend to think highly of people who make the effort to learn some Arabic, even if it is just a few words. You will not need Arabic, particularly if you go and work somewhere like Dubai, where practically everyone speaks English but in other parts of the Arab world you will be able to get much further if you have it. Generally speaking, I just say that it smooths the way in commercial negotiations and it makes people well disposed to working with you because they will feel that you have a real interest in their language and their culture if you have taken the effort to learn a bit about it.
Author: Cynthia Dearin
Cynthia Dearin is an international business strategist, advisor, keynote speaker and author of Amazon best-seller Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires: Your Guide to Business Culture in the Middle East and North Africa. With 18 years of international experience, as an Australian diplomat and management consultant, she is the Founder and Managing Director of Dearin Associates and the International Business Accelerator that helps clients to access opportunities in fast-growing international markets around the world.