Good jobs and economic growth top the priorities of African citizens, but government performance on these issues lags, according to new Afrobarometer findings from across the continent.
In October 2011, after years of conflict with extremist groups on its eastern and northeastern borders, Kenya sent about 2,000 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops into Somalia. Close on the heels of high-profile kidnappings and deaths of foreign tourists and aid workers, Operation “Protect the Nation” was launched with public fanfare and vague pronouncements about ridding Somalia of al Shabaab, creating a buffer zone against extremists, and protecting Kenya’s longer-term development plans (Downie, 2011; Branch, 2011; Zenko, 2011).
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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.
After a tense election period, a government crackdown on opposition supporters, and months of uncertainty, the leaders of Kenya’s two major political coalitions came together in March to announce an end to their bitter fight (Wanga, 2018).
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.
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.
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).
Fieldwork completed in 2016.
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.
Round 7 summary of results (2016) for Kenya.
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).
Applying new analytic methods to imagery data offers the potential to dramatically expand the information available for human geography. Satellite imagery can yield detailed local information about physical infrastructure, which we exploit for analysis of local socioeconomic conditions. Combining automated processing of satellite imagery with advanced modeling techniques provides a method for inferring measures of well-being, governance, and related sociocultural attributes from satellite imagery.
Do collective experiences that prime sentiments of national unity reduce interethnic tensions and conflict? We examine this question by looking at the impact of national football teams’ victories in sub-Saharan Africa.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
Using data on more than 800 home languages identified during Afrobarometer Round 5 (2011/2013) surveys in 35 countries, as well as information on multilingualism gathered in 20 countries in Round 4 (2008/2009), this paper explores linguistic diversity and multilingualism at the individual level, within communities, and across countries. Afrobarometer data offer a unique perspective on the distribution of languages and language capabilities from the viewpoint of the users of language rather than those who study it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.