• One for the books

    One for the books

    A 54-year-old theory of the importance of national literacy rates for investment growth has been put to the test.

    It has been proven that countries are unlikely to grow sustainably unless there is 40% literacy rate, and they cannot industrialise without a literacy rate of 70% to 80%.

    Data released by investment banking firm Renaissance Capital shows that the East African Community is ripe for industrialisation, with Tanzania and Kenya in the lead with literacy rates of 80% and 78% respectively. Rwanda and Uganda follow closely with literacy rates of more than 70%. Other African countries with literacy rates conducive to industrialisation include Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    According to a How We Made It In Africa report, West Africa has the lowest levels of industrialisation, with literacy rates in the 40% to 60% range and, in some instances, just below. The report also notes that with a 60% literacy rate, Nigeria will not be able to industrialise (in other words, to have manufacturing above 20% of value-added) for roughly another decade.

    15 August 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images