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).
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Almost half of Africans go without needed health care, and one in seven have to pay bribes to obtain needed care, according to new findings from Afrobarometer.
Released on World Health Day (April 7), the survey findings show that citizens across 36 African countries rank health care as their second-most-important national problem and priority for additional government investment. Public ratings of government performance in improving basic health services have worsened over the past decade: Almost half of Africans say their government is doing “fairly” or “very” badly.
Almost half of Africans go without enough clean water for home use, and a majority have to leave their compounds in order to access water, according to new findings from Afrobarometer.
Released on World Water Day (March 22), the survey findings give voice to citizens who call on their governments to do a better job of ensuring access to water and sanitation. Public ratings of government performance in providing water and sanitation services have worsened over the past decade: A majority say their government is doing “fairly” or “very” badly.
While more Africans live within reach of an electric grid than a decade ago, only four in 10 enjoy a reliable power supply, according to new survey findings from Afrobarometer. In some countries, that proportion is four in 100.
Based on nearly 54,000 interviews in 36 African countries in 2014/2015, Afrobarometer’s report concludes that more than a century after the invention of the light bulb, a majority of Africans are still in the dark, either intermittently or constantly.
Contrary to common portrayals, Africans express high degrees of tolerance for people from different ethnic groups, people of different religions, immigrants, and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), newly released Afrobarometer survey findings show.
Image: A highway in Madagascar (Rod Waddington): Courtesy of Monkey Cage Blog.
Repost from Monkey Cage Blog: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/02/07/is-africa-...