It’s a great plus if you can speak Spanish, Arabic or Mandarin Chinese, however speaking both English and French would be enough in most if not all situations. Wherever you go, you will very likely find someone who can at least understand basic English or French, not to mention that oftentimes one who learnt Chinese or Arabic doesn’t speak it well enough and therefore ends up being asked to speak in English or French.
While just 274 million people speak French out of a world population of 7.43 billion (2.7%), INSEAD economist Kai Chan found out that French would currently rank as the third most spoken business language followed very closely by Spanish and only surpassed by second English and first Mandarin Chinese.
Fact largely unknown to the public, French remains the second most frequently taught foreign language in the world after English and its use might grow significantly thanks to sub-Saharan Africa’s demographic dynamic. For major countries like France, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland in particular, the growing number of people speaking French will be a key stake of their future influence on the world scene.