Do Africans have irredeemably low IQ?

'Tosin Adeoti
2 min readJan 26, 2021


A few days ago, a Polish remarked that the average IQ of the sub-Saharan African is in the low 70s, that they will never reach first world standards.

As expected, Africans descended on the poster in the comments, largely engaging in ad hominems. Not very bright arguments, I must confess from my fellow Africans. I can’t say I was not ashamed.

Frankly, I don’t believe in arguing or getting bothered over statements like this.

I can argue that worse adjectives were used to describe the Japanese and Koreans decades ago. However, subsequent developments have made the speakers look stupid.

Someone like Thomas Sowell has written extensively about how IQ is not static. It increases as the standard of living in a place increases. A few decades ago, the Chinese had one of the lowest IQs of immigrants to America, so much so that they were considered incapable of being assimilated culturally and biologically.

As the living standards of China improved, more and more Chinese have become brighter and have thus become one of the most envied intelligent people on earth.

Why is improved standard of living so important?

Because something like nutrition is a big factor in development. Even a moderate decrease in your iodine levels can cause a 10- to 15-point loss in your intelligence quotient (IQ), according to one study.

When you’re dominated by the thoughts of what to eat, where to sleep and what to wear, you’re less concerned about activities that would further your intellect. For perspective, 70% of the population in sub saharan Africa live on less than $2 a day. It’s the poorest region in the world.

That’s why politics is important. You can’t pray yourselves out of poverty. Prayer or religion was not what brought Korea, Japan, even rising Rwanda out of poverty. A political understanding of good economics is.

Getting angry on the internet about being berated for having low IQ is not the solution to low IQ, getting the country working is.

For more incisive analysis and news of issues in Nigeria and around the world, subscribe to Freshly Presssed.