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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Nigerians are optimistic about the country’s economic prospects, even if things are still far from rosy, a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates. An overwhelming majority of Nigerians believe the economy will be better in a year’s time, although a majority see current economic conditions as bad and the country as going in the wrong direction.
More than one-third of Nigerians repeatedly went without basic life necessities during the previous year, and many say that obtaining public services was difficult, took “a long time,” and required the payment of a bribe.
After a 2016 recession blamed mainly on low oil revenues and unchecked corruption (Daily Post, 2017), Nigeria’s economy has been showing signs of improvement. Despite foreignexchange shortages, poor infrastructure, and likely political tensions ahead of the February 2019 general elections, economic projections have been positive, including expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 2.6% in 2018 (Focus Economics, 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.
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.
Nigerians praise government and military efforts to fight violent extremism but report high levels of fear and personal experience of such violence, a recent Afrobarometer survey reveals (get the full report here).
Over the past several years, Nigeria has been plagued by various forms of violence, most prominently those linked to violent extremism in the Northeast and communal conflicts between herders and farmers in the central and southern zones. Analysts have attributed the deterioration of security in Nigeria to a wide range of causes, including weak or exploitative governance systems (Africa Center for Strategic Studies, 2017), inequality and injustice, ethno-religious conflicts, porous borders, rural-urban drift, poverty, and unemployment (Abdu & Okoro, 2016).
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.
- Economic condition: Six in 10 citizens (60%) say the country’s economic situation is “bad” or “very bad.” But about the same proportion (57%) describe their personal living conditions as “fairly good” or “very good.”
- Nigerians’ experience with poverty: About a third of Nigerians have experienced “moderate lived poverty” (27%) or “high lived poverty” (10%).
Almost two-thirds of Nigerians say the country is “going in the wrong direction,” a recent Afrobarometer survey reveals. Though harsh, this assessment represents an improvement from 2015.
The government’s macroeconomic performance is less favourably rated than its performance in fighting corruption. Even so, an overwhelming majority of citizens are optimistic that the country has a brighter economic outlook.
More than one-third of Nigerians repeatedly went without basic life necessities during the previous year, placing them in the category of “moderate lived poverty” or “high lived poverty,” a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates.
Survey findings also show that among Nigerians who tried to access certain public services, large proportions say it was difficult, took “a long time,” and required the payment of a bribe to obtain certain services.
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).
Almost half of Nigerians say men make better leaders and should be elected rather than women, a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates. Only a slim majority say women should have the same chance as men of being elected. Support for the empowerment of women in political leadership is lowest in the North West zone, among uneducated Nigerians, and among men.
Round 7 questionnaire for Nigeria.
Since Muhammadu Buhari became president in May 2015, Nigerians have witnessed a series of investigations into alleged corruption by past and present government officials, including high-profile cases involving the former minister of petroleum and a former national security adviser (Al Jazeera, 2017; Vanguard, 2016; Oyibode, 2017).
Corruption in Nigeria: Public perceptions of the government’s fight against corruption have improved dramatically, but more than 90% of Nigerians still say “some,” “most,” or “all” public officials are corrupt.
Clashes between herdsmen and farmers: Seven in 10 citizens (71%) express concern about the incessant conflicts and killings between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria.
Armed extremism in Nigeria: Three-fourths (74%) of Nigerians praise the government’s efforts to address the problem of armed extremists in the country.
Nigerians say unemployment, poverty, and religious beliefs are the main reasons why some citizens join extremist groups, a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates.
The survey reveals that a majority of Nigerians believe international extremist groups are involved in supporting and assisting the extremist groups that have launched attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria.
Public perceptions of the government’s fight against corruption have improved dramatically since 2015, a recent Afrobarometer survey in Nigeria indicates.
More than 90% of Nigerians, however, still say “some,” “most,” or “all” public officials are corrupt, with the police perceived as the most corrupt, and most citizens fear retaliation if they report corruption to the authorities. Nigerians are evenly split as to whether corruption has increased or decreased over the past year.
One in three Nigerians – most of them young and educated – have considered emigrating, a recent Afrobarometer survey in Nigeria indicates.
Among these potential emigrants, about one in eight say they are actually taking steps to leave the country. Most potential emigrants say they want to find jobs and escape economic hardship.
Released on International Migrants Day (18 December), these data speak to an international migration crisis that has seen thousands of would-be emigrants return home with stories of fear, torture, and even the selling of emigrants as slaves.
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.
- 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.