THE AFRICAN EXPONENT
By Sebastiane Ebatamehi
The latest ranking released by World Population Review has revealed the countries with the most educated people worldwide by calculating their literacy rate. According to the report, most of the world’s illiterate adults live in South Asia, West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
More so, the report highlights the educational and gender gaps across the African continent - with nearly two-thirds of the total number of illiterate adults in sub-Saharan Africa are women from rural communities.
What this explains is that if an individual lives in a developed country, he/she has a greater probability of getting educated at a very young age. Unfortunately, not all nations have this luxury. In some countries, the literacy rate – that is, the number of people that are at least 15 years old that can read and write – is very low.
As a whole, the global literacy rate is quite high. The literacy rate for all males and females who are at least 15 years old is 86.3%. Males aged 15 and over have a literacy rate of 90%, while females lag at just 82.7%. Developed nations have a literacy rate of 99.2%.
One of the lowest literacy rates in the world is found in the Republic of Niger where just over 19% of adults can read and write. More than one-quarter According to available data, 27.29% of males in this African nation are literate, while just 11% of females are literate.
South Sudan is another African country with a very low literacy rate of just 26.8%. Nearly 35% of the male residents are literate, while just 19.2% of the nation’s female residents can read and write.
The Republic of Guinea also has a low literacy rate of just 30.4%. Again, the gender discrepancy is observed, as over 38% of males are literate while less than 23% of females are literate.
In other parts of the world, the big and wealthy nations had much higher literacy rates with smaller gaps – if any – between the genders. However, the case is not the same in Africa, as big and wealthy nations like Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya did not make it to the top 10 rankings.
Many critics expressed surprise at Equatorial Guinea topping the list of countries with the highest literacy percentage in the continent; out of the 1,402,983 people in the Central African country, more than 95 percent can read and write. Some critics also claimed that the presence of countries like Libya (4th) and Zimbabwe (8th) in the top 10 list says a lot about Muammar Gaddafi and Robert Mugabe – who were somewhat controversial figures in the continent.
Below is a table showing the top 10 countries in Africa with the most educated people in 2020.