A lion rests at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, July 23, 2016. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The UN's educational arm have decried the high levels of illiteracy in sub Sahara Africa.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa, Social and Human Sciences Specialists Abdul Lamin told Xinhua on Tuesday in Nairobi that on average there is a two percent decline in the level of literacy in the region annually.
"The illiteracy level is largely due to a number of challenges such as rapid population increase and low public investments in the education sector," Lamin said during the UNESCO Sub-regional Workshop on Mobilizing Higher Education and Distance Learning Assets, Capabilities and Networks to help accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal four and the Agenda 2063 literacy targets in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the UN body, there are approximately 203 million people above the age of 15 years who are illiterate in sub Saharan Africa.
Half of the number is concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Lamin said that as compared to other regions of the world, sub Saharan Africa has high illiteracy levels given that sub Sahara is home to one seventh of the world's population but 27 percent of illiterate global population.
The UNESCO official noted that basic literacy and numeracy skills can be truly transformational for the region.
"This is because many of the communities are rural based and whose livelihoods depend on the agricultural economy where basic literacy skills are critical," he added.