"Survival in the current 'information age' requires West African leaders to re-evaluate and give special attention to educational quality and retention of pupils in school. Extension of education to minorities (including girls) and inclusion of adult education in national planning are essential, fundamental for social change and development."
Nigeria has made big strides towards increasing literacy rates for its citizenry through different government programs. "During the period 1995-2004, these programs raised the national literacy rate from 84 percent and 69 percent for the youths and adults, respectively.
"However, one very noticeable weakness in these more recent literacy projects is that they have not been closely linked to adults' working life or their basic needs for economic and social development and empowerment. Rather than provide adults with functional literacy skills, which would have stimulated wider interest and commitments to learning, the programs focused largely on imparting basic literacy education, which failed to provide them with knowledge for self-fulfillment and improved living standards. It was in this context that the University Village Association (UNIVA) initiated the UNIVA Functional Literacy Program (UFLP) to promote the development of literacy and live skills among adults. Following which there has been an improvement and growth in literacy rates."
A holistic approach to adult literacy in Nigeria has proven successful, perhaps it can work as a model for similar countries facing similar literacy challenges.
The overly quoted saying, "give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime" can even be used for literacy. It is not enough to teach how to read, but we must also teach the usefulness of reading, particularly in the "information age." It is this second part of literacy which may prove to be more difficult in the end, but also most effective in decreasing poverty rates.
CDD West Africa Insight, August 2010: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/CDD_Aug2010.pdf 
Image source: http://www.unesco.org/uil/litbase/?menu=4&programme=17