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Is Zimbabwe’s adult literacy rate the highest in Africa?

Is Zimbabwe’s adult literacy rate the highest in Africa?

To see where Zimbabwe’s literacy rate ranks in Africa, we consulted the most recent global literacy list produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), released in June 2013.

UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics estimated that 83.6{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe} of Zimbabweans aged 15 and older were literate in 2011. This estimation was based on Zimbabwe’s 2011 Demographic and Health Survey results.

A senior statistician and policy analyst at UNESCO, Nicole Bella, told Africa Check that they had “made some re-estimations to include older age groups which typically have much lower literacy levels”. The organisation doesn’t consider people who can only read part of a sentence to be literate so they were excluded, unlike in the Demographic and Health Survey.

According to these UNESCO estimates, several other Sub-Saharan African countries had higher literacy rates than Zimbabwe, including Equatorial Guinea (94.2{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), South Africa (93{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Seychelles (91.8{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Gabon (89{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Mauritius (88.8{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Swaziland (87.8{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Burundi (86.9{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}), Botswana (85.1{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}) and Cape Verde (84.9{289ae6f5d0a55057cfb70144e029e1d20b2e3636acbe1142853455ad4708a0fe}).

The only country in North Africa with higher adult literacy rates than Zimbabwe, on the UNESCO figures, was Libya (89.5).

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