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Do East Africans still want a free media? Afrobarometer finds weakening popular support

Popular support for a free news media has declined significantly in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania – three countries currently making headlines for government attempts to limit press freedom.

Recent Afrobarometer surveys show that the proportion of respondents who say the government “should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things that it considers harmful to society” has risen sharply in Tanzania and Uganda, and more modestly in Kenya, over the past five years. At the same time, fewer citizens say they feel free to express their opinions.

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WP181: Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable? Evidence from Africa

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done on its effects on other strategies for democratic accountability, such as contacting an elected representative and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these forms of participation.

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WP180: Police-citizen interaction in Africa: An exploration of factors that influence victims’ reporting of crimes

While personal insecurity in Africa is typically associated with civil wars, crime is actually a far more common threat to the continent’s citizens. Rates of homicide, sexual assault, and property crime in Africa are often far higher than global averages. Despite such threats, many Africans do not report crimes to the police.

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WP179: Electricity provision and tax mobilization in Africa

In this paper, we provide evidence on how the provision of social infrastructure such as reliable electricity can be leveraged to increase taxation in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, using comprehensive data from the latest round of the Afrobarometer survey, we estimate, via the instrumental variable approach, the effect of access and reliability of electricity on tax compliance attitudes of citizens in 36 SSA countries.

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AD196: Who’s watching? Voters seen as key in holding elected officials accountable

In addition to the growing number of African states that conduct regular elections and embed democratic principles in their constitutions, evidence comes from survey-based research that most Africans support democratic values and reward governments that adhere to democratic rules (Mattes & Bratton, 2007; Bratton & Mattes, 2001). However, in many countries, citizen demand for democracy is not met by supply of democracy (Mattes & Bratton, 2016) as governments, once elected, fail to respect the norms of democratic governance (Gyimah-Boadi, 2015).

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Radio remains the most-used source of news in many African countries

Despite audience gains for television and digital media, radio is still by far the most frequent information source for Africans, a new Afrobarometer analysis suggests.

Released on the occasion of World Radio Day (13 February), the analysis is based on Afrobarometer surveys in eight African countries in 2017.

While radio still leads the pack, a previous Afrobarometer report shows television, the Internet, and social media gaining ground.

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AD183: Kenyans say climate change affecting personal lives and country

Last August, Kenya made headlines by banning the use of plastic bags (Guardian, 2017) – a drastic measure, but just one of many steps that have moved the country into a leadership role on the path toward a sustainable environment. Among other actions, Kenya – headquarters for the United Nations Environment Programme – has been a strong advocate for the Paris Climate Accord and worked to implement a 2016 Climate Change Act that aims to ensure a healthy environment for its citizens (Bwire, 2017; Capital News, 2017).

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PP43: Tax compliance Africans affirm civic duty but lack trust in tax department

In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state. 

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WP176: The autocratic trust bias: Politically sensitive survey items and self-censorship

Because of a perceived risk of repressive action, some survey questions are likely sensitive in more autocratic countries while less so in more democratic countries. Yet survey data on potentially sensitive topics are frequently used in comparative research despite concerns about comparability.

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AD170: Kenyans see gains in gender equality, but support for women’s empowerment still uneven

Gender equality is a principle of sustainable development that is globally acknowledged by United Nations and regional agencies, development partners, and national governments. Although the principle is operationalized through policies, legal provisions, and programs in most jurisdictions, implementation and experience vary across regions and countries, and in most cases fall short of the goal. As the United Nations Development Programme notes in its 2016 Africa Human Development Report, “gender equality for African women and girls is still far from satisfactory” (UNDP, 2016). 

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AD169: Economic paradox in Kenya: More favourable perceptions amidst economic insecurity

Kenya and the other member states of the East African Community (EAC) are doing considerably better economically than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa (IMF, 2017). Kenya continues to be rated among the best-performing sub-Saharan economies, with a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.8% in 2016. This impressive performance is attributed to lower oil prices, improved tea and horticulture exports, infrastructure growth, and increased remittance inflows (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2017; Kerry, 2017).

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Geocoded data

Subnationally geocoded Afrobarometer data

Analyze the priorities, preferences, experiences, and opinions of more than 200,000 African citizens in 28,000 localities.

In partnership with:

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Facing election test, Kenya can look to popular support for the rule of law, survey shows

Popular support for the rule of law is one of Kenya’s strengths as it confronts an electoral crisis in the wake of the annulled presidential contest of August 8, Afrobarometer survey findings suggest.

Based on a national survey conducted last October, more Kenyans trust the courts than the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and fully three-quarters of citizens expect the president to obey the courts even if he thinks they’re wrong.

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Freedom from intimidation, violence and corruption: International and national reflections ahead of Kenyan elections

The 2017 Kenyan general elections are scheduled for 8 August. Currently,  politicians and political parties are in the midst of their campaigns. While the last elections were largely peaceful, allegations of voter-bribery, a challenging election timeline and questions over the IEBC's capacity to manage the elections have increased concerns for violence.

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Access to justice still elusive for many Africans, Afrobarometer survey finds

In most African countries, substantial barriers still inhibit citizens’ access to justice, a new Afrobarometer analysis finds. 

Based on a special access-to-justice module in national surveys in 36 African countries, the sobering report identifies long delays, high costs, corruption, the complexity of legal processes, and a lack of legal counsel as major obstacles for citizens seeking legal remedies.

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Kenyans see gains in gender equality, but support for women’s empowerment still uneven

Gender bias: A majority of Kenyans see progress toward equality for women.

Women’s right to own and inherit land: Almost two-thirds of Kenyans say women should have the same rights as men to own and inherit land, but among men, only a bare majority agree.

Election of women to political office: Most Kenyans support equal opportunity for women’s election to political office, but men lag behind women in endorsing this view.

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Kenyans see gains in gender equality, but support for women’s empowerment still uneven, Afrobarometer survey finds

A majority of Kenyans say the country has made progress toward gender equality, but below-average support among men and lagging political engagement among women point toward remaining challenges, according to new Afrobarometer findings released on International Women’s Day.

Popular perceptions that girls and women have a fair chance at education and jobs, that gender violence is never justifiable, and that women should be accorded a fair shot at being elected are in line with perceived progress toward gender equality, the new survey data show. 

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How good are Africa's elections? Afrobarometer video.

Video transcript:

Dozens of African countries regularly conduct national and local elections.

Each election picks a winner.

But beyond winners and losers, the quality of each election also shapes how people feel about their political system in general.

Free and fair elections make people want more democracy.

Elections tainted by repression, fraud, or violence have the opposite effect.

So how good are Africa’s elections?

Afrobarometer surveyed  more than 53,000 citizens in 36 countries, in every region of Africa.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day: Reflections on Citizens’ Perspectives on Gender and Gender Issues in Kenya.

The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi and the Pan African research network Afrobarometer, will have a public sharing of Afrobarometer survey results on gender issues in Kenya. The issues for reflection will include: Land inheritance and ownership, women participation in governance and gender based violence, among others. The nation-wide survey is part of the Afrobarometer survey series conducted across 35 countries in Africa.

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Kenyans say economy on right track, Jubilee government the wrong driver - Afrobarometer survey

Kenyans regarded Corruption, Unemployment and Insecurity as the 3 most important problems they wanted addressed late last year, pushing down the Cost of Living which has featured prominently in recent years from among those at the top of the list.

Download the full media briefing.

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Kenya: Economic performance: More positive outlook despite economic insecurity

At a glance

  • Right direction: A plurality (48%) of Kenyans say the country is going in the right direction – double the optimistic response in 2011. But a majority (55%) still describe economic conditions as bad.
  • Improved living conditions: Perceptions of personal living conditions are the most positive since 2005. But economic insecurity remains high.
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Kenya: Improving democracy in spite of political rhetoric

At a glance

  • Democratic preferences: A majority of Kenyans prefer democratic, accountable governance in which:
    • Leaders are elected in free and fair elections.
    • Political parties compete in an open field.
    • The president is accountable to the people and Parliament.
  • Democracy improving: Compared to 2014, more Kenyans consider their country a democracy and are satisfied with the way it is working.
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Kenyans’ economic outlook brighter, Afrobarometer survey finds

A plurality of Kenyans say the country is going in the right direction – double the optimistic response in 2011. But a majority of citizens still describe economic conditions as bad, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

While economic insecurity remains high, perceptions of personal living conditions are the most positive since 2005. Nonetheless, majorities of citizens say the government has performed poorly in keeping prices stable, creating jobs, and managing the economy.

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Despite growing satisfaction with democracy, many Kenyans fear political violence, Afrobarometer survey shows

Kenyans are increasingly satisfied with their democracy and overwhelmingly supportive of honest elections as the best way of choosing their leaders, but many fear election-related violence, the latest Afrobarometer survey indicates.

Survey findings show that even though most Kenyans feel free to join political organizations of their choice and to express their political opinions, a majority of citizens are at least “somewhat” afraid of becoming victims of political intimidation and violence during election campaigns.

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Do Africans still want democracy? Afrobarometer findings warn of democratic recession, point to long-term gains

A decade-long upward trend in African citizens’ demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012, according to a new Afrobarometer analysis.
But despite warning signs of a democratic recession, public demand for democracy remains higher than a decade ago, and most Africans still say they want more democracy than they’re actually getting – a good basis for future democratic gains.

One important factor: the quality of elections. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to show increases in popular demand for democracy.

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World Development Information Day: China’s growing presence in Africa wins positive popular reviews (Afrobarometer findings)

Key findings

  • On average across 36 African countries, China is the second-most-popular model for national development (cited by 24% of respondents), trailing only the United States of America (30%). About one in 10 respondents prefer their former colonial power (13%) or South Africa (11%) as a model.
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