More than half of Africans say their governments are failing them when it comes to one of their top priorities – the provision of clean water and sanitation services, a new Afrobarometer analysis shows. Half of survey respondents say they went without enough clean water for home use during the previous year – a particular concern considering the importance of proper hygiene for preventing the spread of coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
Economic destitution – whether measured as the frequency with which people go without basic necessities or as the proportion of people who live on less than $1.90 a day – declined steadily in Africa between 2005 and 2015. However, the findings of Afrobarometer Round 7 surveys, conducted in 34 African countries between late 2016 and late 2018, demonstrate that improvements in living standards have come to a halt and “lived poverty” is once again on the rise.
Climate change is “the defining development challenge of our time,” and Africa the continent most vulnerable to its consequences, according to the African Union (2015) and the United Nations (UN Environment, 2019). Farmers in Uganda waiting endlessly for rain (URN, 2019), cyclone survivors in Mozambique and Zimbabwe digging out of the mud and burying their dead (Associated Press, 2019) – these images bring home what changing climate and increasingly extreme weather conditions may mean for everyday Africans.
The new Global Corruption Barometer – Africa 2019, released on African Anti-Corruption Day by Transparency International and Afrobarometer, reveals that more than one in four people who accessed public services during the previous year had to pay a bribe.
Citizens’ views and experiences of corruption
A majority of citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think that corruption is getting worse and that their government is doing a poor job of fighting it, the report indicates.
Observers now commonly assert that multiparty elections are institutionalized as a standard feature of African politics (Posner & Young, 2007; Bratton, 2013; Cheeseman, 2018; Bleck & van de Walle, 2019). By this they mean that competitive electoral contests are the most commonplace procedure for choosing and changing political leaders across the continent.
Almost all African states face pressure to deliver improved public services to their citizens. In both emerging democracies and persistent authoritarian regimes, politics profoundly shapes how states distribute public goods such as roads, schools, health clinics, and electricity access (Briggs, 2014; Dixit & Londregan, 1996; Harding & Stasavage, 2014; Kramon & Posner, 2013; Min, 2015; Weingast, Shepsle, & Johnsen, 1981).
Protection of individual rights and liberties has been on both the African continental agenda and the global agenda for decades, shaped especially by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But the reality on the ground is often a far cry from the high standards set forth in these documents.
Africa has long been characterized as a continent of strong societies and weak states (Migdal, 1988; Chickering & Haley, 2007; Henn, 2016). This image suggests that, compared to an informal sector rich in networks of self-help, mutual aid, and private entrepreneurship, public sector institutions are ineffective at getting things done. As a set of formal structures imported during colonial rule, the centralized state for decades remained “suspended in mid-air” – that is, above society – with limited aptitude to address the everyday needs of ordinary Africans (Hyden, 1983; Boone, 2006).
By 2050, it is projected that one in every four humans will be African as the continent doubles its population, accounting for more than half of global population growth (United Nations, 2015; World Economic Forum, 2017). Even with a land mass greater than India, China, the United States, and Europe combined, and blessed with one-third of the earth’s mineral resources (Custers & Mattlysen, 2009; Bermudez-Lugo et al., 2014), will Africa be able to provide the livelihood opportunities its people demand and need?
Most Africans still want democracy, but fewer than one in six qualify as “dissatisfied democrats” who will protect against authoritarian backsliding, a new Afrobarometer study reveals.
For democracy to be “lived” by ordinary citizens, their ability to engage with others and the state must be protected. While civil freedoms and rights are thus considered core elements of democracies, their mere existence on paper does not mean that citizens will use or benefit from them.
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.
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A l’instar de tous les pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, le Mali est frappé par un changement climatique très avarié. A cet effet, l’économie malienne, essentiellement basée sur l’agrosilvopastorale, fait face à des conséquences graves, y compris la baisse de la pluviométrie de 30% depuis les années 1998 et l’intensification de l’insécurité alimentaire (Stewart, 2013; Arsenault, 2015).
Much of the rhetoric ahead of Mali’s national elections in July has focused on security and reunification in the face of a continuing armed rebellion in the North (Bekow, 2018). Perhaps less obviously, the stakes are also high when it comes to what Malians demand from their government and their democracy.
ONLY AVAILABLE IN FRENCH.
Le présent rapport traite des questions portant sur les plus importants problèmes auxquels le Mali fait face et auxquels le gouvernement devrait s'attaquer. Il traite successivement de ces problèmes tels que révélés par les citoyens dans l'enquête Afrobaromètre de 2017 au Mali, des domaines de développement que recouvrent ces problèmes, et enfin des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) qui peuvent en être tirés, objectifs correspondant à ceux de Nations Unies à l'horizon 2030.
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.
Afrobarometer Round 7: Survey in Mali, 2017.
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).
AVAILABLE IN FRENCH ONLY.
Depuis l’attaque par les rebelles touaregs et le coup d’état de 2012, le Mali a sombré dans des conflits et une crise qui perdurent jusqu’à ce jour. Malgré le retour du pouvoir aux civils, l’élection d’Ibrahim Boubacar Keita en août 2013, et l’implication de forces internationales, la crise a fait beaucoup de victimes, avec l’instauration pendant plusieurs mois de la chariah dans le Nord et la multiplication de groupes rebelles favorisée par le flux d’armes causé par la crise libyenne.
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.
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.
Access to justice for ordinary citizens is a key component of the rule of law and democracy. Mali was once considered a democratic frontrunner on the continent, but political instability and insecurity in recent years have revealed democracy’s foothold as tenuous. The state’s weakness has raised concerns about the quality and extent of democratic practices and institutions, including the extent to which rule of law and access to justice have taken root in the country.