As the global economy and its spill over effects on Africa remain uncertain and enduring, most people in Sub-Saharan Africa hold an optimistic outlook for the continent.
Healthcare and education have been identified as top priorities according to a Pew Research Center survey. This survey focused on Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Medians of eight-in-ten or more say lack of jobs, poor health care, poor quality education, government corruption and crime are very big problems in their nations,” said the report.
Despite the new dawn of autonomy and independence claimed by African countries, the survey illustrated that a median of 68 per cent still believe their countries need assistance from foreign aid, with South Africa being the outlier that held a divergent view.
Most people believe that a partnership between government, foreign aid and private sector could help create a turnaround and solve key issues in the region. “Large majorities consider government corruption a very big problem, including about eight-in-ten or more in Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.”
According to the survey, Nigeria is the only nation where a majority is very confident. It further became clear in responses that people have serious criticisms of their governments. “Majorities in most countries believe government is run for the benefit of a few groups rather than the benefit of all.”
With regards to the sector of extractive industries, overall those surveyed believe foreign companies involved in this industry positively affect their countries. “A median of 67 per cent across the nations polled say extractive companies are providing jobs for local workers and 59 per cent believe they contribute to economic growth.”
However, this feedback was not all the way positive as most citizens expressed concern that these companies “ruin the environment”. More than half of the respondents said the mines and oil rigs are unsafe for workers and 45% say these firms do not pay their share of taxes.
According to the report, “Positive economic ratings are especially common in Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria, where majorities believe their country is doing well economically.”
It appears that optimism is the order of the day in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nations that have enjoyed strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth since 2005 also tend to be more optimistic about the financial well-being of the next generation.