In any multilingual country, a government's choice of language to be used in official situations or as a medium of instruction in educational institutions will advantage certain groups and disadvantage others - not only in their social and cultural lives, but in terms of their ability to participate in political and economic life. People have always learned languages for economic reasons. In much of Africa, public markets are multilingual environments where people need to acquire a lingua franca in order to be able to trade food and goods. They will adopt a common language - a specialised market pidgin or one of the languages from the surrounding area.