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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Namibia performs well on many gender-equality indicators, including gender representation in governance. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2017), Namibia currently ranks 12th globally and fourth on the African continent for the proportion of women in Parliament. Getting to this level of gender representation required a number of important changes in recent years, most notably the adoption of a 50/50 alternating party list by the majority party, Swapo, which holds 80% of National Assembly’s voting seats (Gender Links, 2014).
Summary of results for Namibia (2017).
In its Harambee Prosperity Plan, the Namibian government echoes concerns about its ability to deliver high-quality services as “a prerequisite for rapid growth, job creation and poverty eradication” (Republic of Namibia, 2016, p. 19; City of Windhoek, 2017; Weber & Mendelsohn, 2017; Delgado, 2017). The plan calls for stronger performance management, including citizen satisfaction surveys. The first such survey, in 2017, found satisfaction levels averaging 54% across 19 public institutions, well below the 70% target (Immanuel, 2018).
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.
In the past two years, Namibia’s economy has struggled. In 2016, the country saw two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth, officially plunging it into a depression, followed by the first year since 1993 to record a decline in the GDP, by 0.8% in 2017 (Namibia Statistics Agency, 2018). At the same time, unemployment among youth,1 who make up almost 40% of the population, increased to 43.4% in 2016, up from 39.2% in 2014 (Namibia Statistics Agency, 2015, 2017).
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.
Gender equality: Most Namibians say a gender quota system should be adopted for regional council elections. More than half say the National Assembly has been more effective with more women.
Gender-based violence: Namibians see alcohol, unemployment, and poverty as major contributors to the scourge of GBV in their country.
Past and present: Most Namibians believe that government should work with Nama and Herero traditional authorities on genocide reparations.
Most Namibians say traditional authority representatives should participate in – if not lead – genocide negotiations with the German government, according to a new Afrobarometer survey. Only one in five citizens say the Namibian government should handle the negotiations on its own.
More than half of Namibians think that the increased number of women in the National Assembly has made Parliament more effective, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.
Moreover, more than two-thirds of Namibians support the use of gender quotas to ensure more equal participation of men and women in both National Assembly and regional council elections.
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).
Round 7 questionnaire for Namibia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heroes' Acre, Namibia: Image courtesy of Raymond June via Flickr. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/#
- 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.
- Across 36 African countries, fewer than half of respondents say they trust their MPs (48%) and local councillors (46%) “somewhat” or “a lot.” Among 12 public institutions and leaders, MPs and local councillors rank eighth and ninth in public trust.
Only half of Africans trust their national electoral commissions, and many fear violence and unfair practices during election campaigns, according to a new report by Afrobarometer.
- Across 36 countries in 2014/2015, Africans express more trust in informal institutions such as religious and traditional leaders (72% and 61% respectively) than in the formal executive agencies of the state (on average 54%).
- That said, people find certain executive agencies, such as the national army and the state presidency, to be quite trustworthy (64% and 57% respectively), especially when compared with legislative and electoral institutions (47% and 44% respectively).
Political and civic engagement by African youth is declining and is particularly weak among young women, according to new Afrobarometer survey findings.
The findings, which are being released on International Youth Day 2016 (August 12), show African youth are less likely than their elders to engage in a variety of political and civic activities, including voting, attending community meetings, joining others to raise an issue, and contacting leaders. Young women express significantly less interest in public affairs than young men.
For advocates of regional integration as a path toward economic and political power for Africa, Afrobarometer’s latest survey findings suggest that many citizens still need to be convinced of the benefits of integration.
Amid growing concerns about government restrictions on media freedom, Africans overwhelmingly support an independent media that holds government accountable, according to new survey findings from Afrobarometer.
The findings, which are being released on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), show that a majority of African citizens support the media’s “watchdog” role, see the media as effective in revealing government mistakes and corruption, and affirm that journalists “rarely” or “never” abuse their freedom by publishing lies.
Les coupures d’électricité rotatives peuvent défrayer la chronique; l’absence complète d'infrastructures électriques pas souvent. Tous ces deux phénomènes découlent du déficit en énergie électrique de l'Afrique, un obstacle important au développement humain et socio-économique avec des effets pernicieux sur la santé (imaginez des cliniques sans équipement de survie et sans médicaments et vaccins réfrigérés), l'éducation, la sécurité, et la croissance des entreprises.