Tap into Africa’s rich human capital potential

For the past two years a team of researchers at Knowledge Resources have been analysing human capital and labour trends in various African countries.

The most recent Human Capital and Labour Reports cover Botswana , South Africa, GhanaKenya, Nigeria , Tanzania, Uganda , Zambia, Namibia and soon we will be releasing reports on the following countries: Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi.

These reports provide in-depth analysis of important and relevant indicators such as:

  1. Employment levels and trends
  2. Labour market efficiency
  3. Salary and wage trends
  4. Industrial relations
  5. Job creation strategies and programmes
  6. Expatriates, immigrants and diaspora
  7. Education
  8. Standards of living
  9. Healthcare
  10. Economic indicators
  11. Inter-cultural challenges
  12. Governance

One of the important factors linked to the human capital potential of a country is education and skills development. Some interesting trends have emerged from our research.

Through the assessment of: The qualifications profile of the population and workforce; an overview of national education; skills statistics; and the quality of the education system, businesses and policymakers can gain unique insight into Africa’s varying levels of human capital and the potential that exists for business development and investment on the continent.

Trends in education in Africa

In conjunction with the positive message of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative, education on the continent is improving by leaps and bounds and is creating much optimism for future human capital levels.

  • Literacy rates continue to improve across the continent with countries like Mauritius and Zimbabwe achieving exceptionally high adult literacy rates of 90.62% and 83.58% respectively.
  • The levels of educational attainment are improving, as is seen in the case of Mozambique with the percentage of the population with no education decreasing substantially from 17.7% in 2003 to 14.1% in 2011 for males, and 40.5% to 29.1% for females.
  • In addition, the mean years of schooling is also expected to increase from 4 years in 2005 to an average of 10 years in 2012 in Angola.
  • Enrolments for all levels of education are increasing substantially. For instance gross enrolments for primary education in Mozambique have increased by 339% over the period from 1990 to 2012.
  • Enrolments to secondary education are typically lower than primary education for many African countries; however enrolments to secondary education are also experiencing substantial increases, as seen in Namibia with an increase of 193% from 1990 to 2012.
  • Many of the countries examined in this set of reports are post-conflict countries in the process of socio-economic rehabilitation. Progress made in the education sector in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola has been substantial with completion rates, among other factors, improving considerably. In the DRC the completion rates increased from 34.7% in 1999 to 72.8% in 2012.
  • Another important trend observed in the countries analysed is the increase in primary and secondary teachers, which in some cases has led to an improvement in pupil-teacher ratio, and a subsequent improvement in the overall quality of education.  A prominent example of this is Namibia where the number of primary teachers increased from 12,327 in 2000 to 15,283 in 2012.
  • The quality of education in African countries is also bolstered by high percentage of trained teachers, which has also been on the rise, as seen in the case of Mauritius with 100% of all teachers having received training.
  • Tertiary enrolments, while still relatively low, have increased dramatically in Africa, subsequently ameliorating the level of skills of new entrants into the work force. For instance in the DRC enrolments increased from 66,614 students in 1990 to 511,251 in 2012, reflecting an increase of 193%.
  • Enrolments into science and engineering degrees are also on the rise, increasing the innovative potential for many African countries, like Zimbabwe where the number of enrolments for science degrees increased by 71% over the period from 2010 to 2012.

Overall massive strives have been made in improving education on the African continent, subsequently creating an increasingly skilled labour force.  With the guidance of effective government policies, this human capital potential can be fostered and capitalised upon and in conjunction with private sector businesses can continue to boost Africa’s development potential and ensure that Africa continues to rise.

Reports now available:

The following reports are available in either a hard copy or electronic format:


Some of the organisations who have already accessed these reports, include:

Massmart | PwC | Group Five | Imperial | AngloGold Ashanti | UJ | UTi | Old Mutual | Transnet | Monash | UNISA | Foschini | Proctor & Gamble| GIBS | KFC | Media24 | Mr Price and many more.

For any queries regarding these reports please contact: Zia Attlee: zia@knowres.co.za or (011) 706 6009.


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