Pretoria - The number of Americans studying at South African universities has increased by 12.4 percent in the 2009/10 academic year, said the US embassy.
According to the Open Doors Report, which is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the number of students has risen from 3 700 to 4 160 students.
There are more American students studying in South Africa universities than in any other sub-Saharan country.
"These are exciting numbers for South Africa. The 12 percent growth in American students in South Africa really highlights the strength of the higher education system here in this country, as well as the strong partnership between US and South African institutions of higher learning," Clara Priester, the Education USA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa -- based at the US Consulate in Johannesburg -- said on Monday.
Priester said that the US was looking forward to increasing the number of students who travel to this country from the US, as well as South Africans who study in America.
"It is exactly this type of exchange that strengthens friendship and understanding between nations."
In 2009/10, South Africa sent 1 656 students to United States colleges and universities.
Worldwide, the number of international students studying in accredited US institutions rose by 2.9 percent to 690 923 in the academic year 2009/10, despite the global downturn.
The report said that Sub-Saharan Africa showed a small decrease of 8 percent from 32 728 students in 2008/09 to 32 121 in 2009/10.
The top 10 Africa countries sending students to study in the US account for 84% of the 32 121 students. Nigeria occupied the first place for the second year running, followed by Kenya and Ghana. South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, C"te d'Ivoire, and Uganda round out the top 10.