Pew Research: Africa is more economically optimistic

5 August 2015

A Pew Research Center (PRC) report, part of its Global Attitudes and Trends Project, has found that global citizens are largely discontent with current economic conditions and are pessimistic about the financial prospects of the next generation. The degrees of dissatisfaction vary widely according to region, with more discontent in Europe and the Middle East than in the so-called emerging African and Asian regions.

The PRC is one of the leading independent global research institutes. Based in the US, it gathers and interprets data on global social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends. The research is sourced from public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and empirical social science research.

The results of this most recent global economic satisfaction analysis – conducted between 25 March and 27 May and released on 23 July – were generated from 45 435 in-person and telephone interviews across 40 countries with adults 18 years old and upwards.

Africa

Three African countries stand out as having the most hope for the next year: Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Some 92% of Nigerian respondents see their economy improving over the next 12 months, juxtaposed with a global median of 5% who say their local economies will stay the same or worsen. Burkina Faso and Ethiopia are likewise economically optimistic, with more than 80% of respondents in the nations predicting economic progress.

Both Nigeria and Ethiopia rank high in their view of long-term prospects, with 84% saying the next generation will be financially better off than the previous generation.

Economic growth in Ethiopia, in particular – according to the International Monetary Fund – has beaten every other sub-Saharan country over the past decade and is projected to exceed an annual rate of 8% over the next two years. With a 20% boost over the next budget in public spending on infrastructure and education, Ethiopia remains on track to improve on its previous performance.

South Africa

South Africa offers some mixed results that nonetheless make for interesting reading. South Africans regard the current economic condition in the country as “good”, with a particularly high positivity among the 18-29 (65%) and 30-49 (57%) age groups.

When asked the sample question: “Over the next 12 months, do you expect the economic situation in (your) country to improve/remain the same/worsen?” respondents measured a 45/29/22 ratio, specifically measuring remarkable above- average scores in the 18-29 (53%) and 30-49 (45%) age groups. Some 47% of South Africans feel hopeful about the economic prospects of the country’s next generation.

Europe

Countries in Europe have high dissatisfaction levels with current economic conditions with a median of 70% across six prominent EU countries, including Italy (88%), France (85%) and Spain (81%). Contrasting this, Germans are notably satisfied, with 75% believing their economy is in good shape. Regarding future economic potential in Europe, there is a median of 64% pessimism for the next generation.

Middle East and Latin America

Two thirds of countries surveyed in the Middle East are also negative about current and future economic prospects in the region. Similarly, Latin Americans, with a median of 63%, regard their economies as gloomy. Brazil (87%) and Venezuela (83%) have particularly negative views. The region in general, however, is more positive about the future, achieving a median score of above 60% in most South American and Central American countries surveyed.

Asia

The Asia-Pacific region also has a relatively bright view of the future – by nearly two-to-one, with a median of 51% saying the next generation will be economically better off. Vietnam (91%) and China (88%) are mostly hopeful, while Japan scores a low 18% regarding the future.

Source: Pew Research Center