SURVEY: Do African citizens trust public institutions?

PUBLISHED: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:10:30 GMT

Africans put trust in religious and traditional leaders more than they do in the government, that’s according to the latest report issued by Afrobarometer.

The survey was conducted through almost 54,000 interviews in 36 African countries and found that the majority of participants believed unemployment and health care were the most important problems government should address.

 Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa.

With a variety of democracies in the continent, ruling parties, opposition parties and tax authorities were regarded as the least trusted institutions by the people and all came in below the 50 per cent mark. Despite many dictatorships utilising their armies to enforce their rule, the Afrobarometer survey found that 64 per cent of the interviewed individuals trusted the army more than the president and courts.

In terms of countries that expressed trust in its state, Niger was ranked highest with 86 per cent. Ironically its closest neighbour, the oil rich Nigeria, was ranked at the bottom of the 36 countries with 31 per cent. Tunisia and Egypt, who experienced riots from their citizens against their governments during the ‘Arab Spring’, were positioned 5th and 6th with both countries having accumulated 74 per cent. Zimbabwe with its current riots against the long serving Robert Mugabe rated 60 per cent in terms of trust to state.

Within the institutional sector, 67 percent of respondents said they put trust in the informal sector, while 54 per cent opted for the executive. The electoral sector received the lowest votes with 44 per cent. When it comes to corruption, the majority of people believed presidents, courts and the police were most corrupt.

Afrobarometer is produced collaboratively by social scientists from more than 30 African countries.

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