DAKAR, 22 April 2009 (IRIN) - Illiteracy rates in West Africa are the highest in the world, cramping development and weakening citizens’ power to effect socio-economic and political change, say education agencies, who are calling on governments and donors to step up literacy and education efforts.Read the full article here...
Sixty-five million West African adults – 40 percent of the adult population – cannot read or write according to a new study, 'From closed books to open doors – West Africa's literacy challenge'.
Of the 10 countries with the world’s lowest recorded adult – 15 and older – literacy rates, seven are in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the report says.
"Tens of millions of non-literate women, men and young people in West Africa are trapped behind closed doors, excluded from the living standards, educational opportunities, and democratic power that are their rights," said Mahamadou Cheick Diarra, coordinator of the African Platform for Adult Education (Pamoja).
“People [in West Africa] cannot access jobs or economic or technical opportunities that have been shown all over the world to be driving development," said the report’s author, Oxfam West Africa advocacy coordinator Caroline Pearce.