Countries That Has Most Degree Holders in Africa

Africans love to learn much of the western knowledge; that is why the list of countries that has most degree holders in Africa will be another interesting content to analyze here. First, let us look at the statistics of proof that shows the extent to which the continent can be measured to education lovers.

The history of education in Africa can be roughly divided into pre- and post- colonial periods. Since the introduction of formal education to Africa by European colonists, African education, particularly in West and Central Africa, is characterized by both traditional African teachings and European-style schooling systems.

However, a 2021 study found that colonial education systems may also have had some positive effects on education levels in Africa, namely on numeracy. The increase of numeracy in Africa had been accelerating since the 1830s, but it picked up speed during the late 19th and the first two decades of the 20th century.

That suggests that colonial education was a determining factor for better education. This positive relationship might have existed due to the effort to spread European schooling among native populations to legitimize colonial power, since this accelerated the organization of schools.

Following the expiration of the MDGs in 2015, the UN adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. The fourth goal addressed education, with the stated aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

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%.

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.

Read Also: The Most Illiterate Countries in Africa

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.

Countries That Have Most Degree Holders in Africa

Since its inception, education–even university education–has been met with several obstructive agents in the society. 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. 27.29% of males in this African nation are literate, while just 11% of females are literate.

However, there are those countries that have the most degree holders in Africa against all odds. 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. It is a number of these nations that we shall be highlighting below:

Equatorial Guinea

It has a literacy rate of 95.30 percent, with a population of 1,402,983. Equatorial Guinea established its tertiary education institution in 1995 and has seen continuous progress in its educational system since then.

Unarguably, in the list of countries that have the most degree holders in Africa, the country rose from second to top.

South Africa

Is in the second position, with a population of 59,308,690 people and a literacy rate of 94.30 percent. The country’s educational system is divided into three levels: primary school, secondary school, and tertiary education.


With a population of 98,347 people, Seychelles is ranked third in the world, with a literacy rate of 91.80%. The country is said to be the only one to have met all six of UNESCO’s Education for All goals. Adult education was also promoted heavily in the country.


It has a literacy rate of 91.00 percent, with a population of 6,871,292 people. The government provides free primary education to its inhabitants and makes it a mandatory requirement.


It has a population of 1,271,768 people. They have a literacy rate of 90.60 percent. Mauritius embraced the British educational system and offers free education from pre-primary to higher levels to its residents.


Is in sixth place, with a population of 2,351,627 people and an 88.50 percent literacy rate. The country’s educational system is free but not compulsory.

Cape Verde

It has a population of 555,987 people and a literacy rate of 87.60 percent. With an annual rate of 11.68 percent, the country has progressively increased adult education and made education compulsory for youngsters aged 6 to 14. Children aged 6 to 12 receive free schooling from the government.


It has a population of 14,862,924 people and an 86.50 percent literacy rate. The country is one of those that has progressed in adult education and provides free public school education to pupils.


Burundi is ranked ninth in the world, with a population of 11,890,784 people and a literacy rate of 85.60 percent. Education in the country is both compulsory and free. Children, the age of seven must be enrolled in school.


Last but not least, Gabon has a population of 2,225,734 people and an 83.20 percent literacy rate. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to attend school, which is free.

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