$1.1 billion required for new schools in Southern Africa

11 Oct 2020

$1.1 billion required for new schools in Southern Africa

Southern Africa will require more than $1.1 billion to build additional schools for the growing population and train 40,000 teaching staff over the next decade.


Southern Africa’s population will increase by 11.6 percent over the next decade to reach 75.4 million by 2030.  This means approximately 1.3 million additional children of school-going age, 6-18 years old, will need rooms and educators for teaching. Although connectivity is improving leaps and bounds, many of those in rural areas have poor connectivity and still priced out of their means.  COVID-19 has shown that in some cases remote learning can work, but in general, reserved for the more affluent.


To educate the 1.3 million, 32,800 classrooms will be required, and 40,000 teaching staff have to be recruited and trained.  This is based on an industry-standard of no more than 40 children per class. Recent construction costs indicate a standard classroom priced at $35,000 including auxiliary equipment and common areas.  This means an investment of $1.1 billion will be required to construct schools across the 5 Southern African countries.


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Literacy rate in Southern Africa – Word Bank

Country Year of last survey Literacy rate (percent)
Botswana 2013 87
Eswatini 2018 88
Lesotho 2014 77
Namibia 2018 92
South Africa 2017 87


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