The ability to read, write and do a simple summation of numbers that are necessary for 21st-century engagements in hospitals, banks, and commercial spaces underpin sustainable development. Africa’s literacy rate is on the rise. In Botswana, the adult literacy rate increased from 68.58 % in 1991 to 88.22 % in 2015 and is growing at an average annual rate of 9.00 %. Adult literacy rate of Ghana increased from 57.9 % in 2000 to 76.6 % in 2015 and is growing at an average annual rate of 15.30 %. Kenya’s Literacy rate increased from 82.39% in 2007 to 86.53% in 2014. Adult literacy rate of Cameroon increased from 41.2 % in 1976 to 75 % in 2015 and is growing at an average annual rate of 18.84 %. Egypt is working towards achieving zero illiteracy rate in the next three years.
This year’s celebration which centers on multilingualism and literacy ties in with UNESCO’S declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. AfLIA had long realized that creating the Africa we want involves training librarians to ramp up literacy activities in indigenous languages. Our languages tell the stories of who we are, our worldviews, values and knowledge systems better than ‘official languages’.
Our excitement flows from the fact that Africa has more than 7000 indigenous languages through which people in different parts of the continent communicate, pass on their history and norms. Recognizing the need to embrace our language diversities in everyday learning, formal and informal interactions is a right step towards having inclusive societies.
AfLIA is a willing partner for African Libraries as more avenues are explored to get local language information resources into more hands in the continent in order to continue to raise the literacy rate in our local languages.
Ujuzi wa kusoma na kuandika
Ulwazi lokufunda nokubhala