Johannesburg - Over 56 million young people in sub-Saharan Africa have not completed primary school and lack basic skills for employment, according to a report released on Tuesday.
These young people are aged between 15 and 24.
The African leg of the United Nations Global Monitoring Report on Education was released by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in Soweto.
"In sub-Saharan Africa about 30 million [children] are still missing out on primary school and 22 million are out of secondary school, missing out on vital skills for future employment."
Women were the hardest hit.
In eight African countries, over nine out of ten young women in rural areas had not completed lower secondary school.
There was a dire need to increase funding to fix the skills deficit.
The report calculated that on top of the US$16bn needed annually to achieve universal lower education by 2015, it would cost US$8bn in aid to achieve universal lower education.
"Re-allocation of aid could help to fill the funding gap."
This is the 10th Unesco-backed Education for All report on the global state of education and skills.