African Reading and Writing Stats
Literacy rates among African adults aged 15 years and older including statistics and definitions of literacy rates by countries in Africa. Learn about what literacy is and put 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.
|Secondary school Mukono Town, Uganda|
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.
Africa the cradle of language but not literacy. Facts: 793 million adults worldwide cannot read these words, 64% of them are women, 10 countries account for 72% of all illiterate adults and 67 million primary school-age children are not enrolled in school.
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 %
|Primary school student in Botswana Africa.|
|African County||% read & write English||Male %||Female %|
|Central African Republic||37||51||24|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||75||88||63|
|Djibouti||no info||no info||no info|
|Sao Tome and Principe||70||80||60|
|Somalia||no info||no info||no info|
|United Republic of Tanzania||68||75||61|
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.
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, set aside a special time each day to read aloud to your children and reread your child’s favorite story, children often like to revisit some of their old favorites.