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African countries by the literacy rate

Africa the cradle of language but not literacy

The literacy rate among African adults aged 15 years and older including statistics and definitions of literacy rates by countries in Africa.

Article Topics
What is literacy

Putting literacy rates in Africa in perspective


Learning to read and write should be fundamental yet, more than 75% of the world's 781 million illiterate adults are found in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; of all the illiterate adults in the world, almost 66% are women.

Nevertheless, keep in mind there are no universal definitions and standards of literacy, therefore, literacy rates in Africa are subjective. Also, Africa is the second most populous continent with about 1.1 billion people or 16% of the world’s population. 

Mexico, China, Eastern, and Western Europe, India, the USA, and Japan can all fit into Africa's total land area very comfortably. African countries by the literacy rate generally mean literacy also encompasses numeracy, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations.

Reading in Africa

Africa the cradle of language but not literacy


Most importantly, over 25% of all languages are spoken only in Africa with over 2,000 languages are spoken on the continent. With such diversity in language, a person is counted as literate by the World Bank as the population aged 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life. 

The top five African countries with the highest literacy rates are:

Equatorial Guinea 95.3 %
South Africa 94.3 %
Seychelles 91.8 %
Libya 91 %
Mauritius 90.6 %

The top five African countries with the lowest literacy rates are:

Niger 19.1 %
South Sudan 27 %
Guinea 30.4 %
Burkina Faso 36 %
The Central African Republic 36.8 %


People who read are better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.

African Country Literacy rates 2015 in Alphabetical Order



African Adult Literacy Rate For Every African Country

African Countries Total % read and write in English Male % Female %
Algeria 73 81 64
Angola 71 82 60
Benin 29 41 18
Botswana 87 87 88
Burkina Faso 29 37 22
Burundi 87 89 85
Cabo Verde 85 90 80
Cameroon 71 78 65
Central African Republic 37 51 24
Chad 38 47 29
Congo 79 86 73
Côte d'Ivoire 41 52 30
Democratic Republic of the Congo 75 88 63
Djibouti no info no info no info
Egypt 72 80 64
Equatorial Guinea 95 97 92
Eritrea 72 81 63
Ethiopia 39 49 29
Gabon 82 85 80
The Gambia 53 62 45
Ghana 71 78 65
Guinea 25 37 12
Guinea-Bissau 58 70 45
Guyana 85 82 87
Kenya 72 78 67
Lesotho 76 66 85
Liberia 43 61 27
Libya 90 96 84
Madagascar 64 67 62
Malawi 61 72 51
Mali 31 43 20
Mauritania 46 57 35
Mauritius 89 92 87
Morocco 67 76 58
Mozambique 51 67 36
Namibia 76 74 78
Niger 15 23 9
Nigeria 51 61 41
Rwanda 66 71 62
Sao Tome and Principe 70 80 60
Senegal 52 66 40
Seychelles 94 93 94
Sierra Leone 46 57 35
Somalia no info no info no info
South Africa 93 94 92
South Sudan 27 35 19
Sudan 74 82 66
Eswatini 83 84 82
Togo 60 74 48
Tunisia 79 87 71
Uganda 73 83 65
United Republic of Tanzania 68 75 61
Zambia 61 72 52
Zimbabwe 84 88 80

About International Literacy Day

Reading inspires children to be successful in school and life. On November 17, 1965, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO declared September 8th of each year International Literacy Day.

International Literacy Day goal is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The goal of the program is the promotion of literacy being an essential human right and the groundwork for learning. With formal and non-formal reading programs worldwide, UNESCO works to realize the vision of a literate world for all.

September 8th is International Literacy Day

· 793 Million Adults Worldwide Cannot Read These Words

· 64% of them are Women

· 10 Countries Account for 72% of All Illiterate Adults

· 67 Million Primary School-Age Children are not enrolled in school


Why Is Reading Important?

· Reading is fundamental to function in today's society

· It is a means of language acquisition

· Many well-paying jobs require reading as a part of job performance

· Reading develops the mind. The mind is a muscle. It needs exercise

· Reading develops the imagination

· The pen is mightier than the sword

Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection. - Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan


What can you do?

Read aloud to your children

Reading aloud is a gift you can freely give to your children from the day they are born until the time they leave the nest. Children's reading experts agree that reading aloud offers the easiest and most effective way to help children become lifelong readers. It can also be as much fun for you as it is for your children.

A child whose day includes listening to lively stories is more likely to grow up loving books and wanting to read them. To spark this desire in your children, you may want to try some of these suggestions offered by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a national nonprofit organization that inspires youngsters to read.

1. Set aside a special time each day to read aloud to your children.

2. Vary your selections. For very young children, look for picture books with artwork and stories that is simple, clear and colorful.

3. Read slowly and with expression. Try substituting your child's name for a character in the story.

4. Have your children sit where they can see the book clearly.

5. Allow time afterwards to talk about the story.

6. As you read aloud, encourage your children to get in on the act. It is even fun to dramatize the roles in the story or read lines of dialogue.

7. Children like a sense of completion, so finish what you begin.

8. Continue to read aloud to your children even after they begin school and are independent readers. There is no age limit to reading to your children.

9. Teenagers may enjoy reading aloud to a younger sibling.

10. Reread your child’s favorite story, children often like to revisit some of their old favorites.

Chic African Culture and The African Gourmet=

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