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?
Summary of results for Zambia (2014)
Summary of results for Zambia.
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.
While Zambia has achieved steady growth in primary-school enrollment and completion, critics say poorly trained teachers, inadequate learning materials, and poor school governance undermine the quality of education (Global Partnership for Education, 2018). To address these challenges, the Zambian government has committed to educational reforms designed to make teaching and learning more responsive to the needs and demands of the population.
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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Corruption is one of the largest impediments to economic growth, human development, and alleviation of poverty in Africa (Transparency International, 2015; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2016; Bratton & Gyimah-Boadi, 2016). Studies have shown that corruption is particularly harmful to the poorest and most vulnerable, who depend most heavily on the state for services and lack the ability to vote with their wallets (Peiffer & Rose, 2014).
For a decade, Zambia had one of the world’s fastest-growing economies: Between 2004 and 2014, the gross domestic product (GDP) averaged annual growth of 6.7% (Index Mundi, 2017). In 2011, the World Bank reclassified Zambia from a low-income to a middle-income country (Guardian, 2011).
But according to the government’s 2015 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey Report, poverty levels have consistently remained above 60% (Central Statistical Office, 2016). In rural areas, three out of four persons (75%) are poor.
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).
Round 7 questionnaire for Zambia.
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.
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.
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.
Fifty years ago today, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly enshrined a freedom that we had probably treasured ever since our evolution into social animals – the right to assemble and associate freely. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was adopted along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), formalizes the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21) and freedom of association (Article 22), among other fundamental human rights.
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.
- 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).