A Changing Tide In Africa: CIGI-Globescan Survey Reveals New Perspectives On Conflict And Change

30 August 2016 – For decades, much of Africa was presumed to be perpetually immersed in conflict and instability. But a new survey commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by independent research consultancy GlobeScan reveals Africans are less concerned about state-driven violence and conflict than corruption and lack of economic opportunities.
The survey is part of CIGI’s multi-year project examining Africa and its capacity to prevent, contain, and resolve violent conflicts. The project recently published Minding the Gap, co-edited by CIGI Africa experts Chester Crocker and Pamela Aall.
Citizens in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa surprisingly ranked issues conventionally associated with threats to stability in Africa—such as ethnic violence or state-driven warfare—among the lowest on their lists of reasons for leaving their home countries. For example, in Kenya, a country that faced the prospect of tribal warfare just a few years ago, citizens ranked “religious tribal and ethnic conflict” below poor economic opportunities and dissatisfaction with their home government. This dissatisfaction is deep-seated and substantial: one in five people interviewed suggested that they would likely leave their home countries due to a lack of economic opportunities and poor government performance.
“A shift is taking place in what citizens in key African countries feel most threatened by today,” said Pamela Aall, CIGI Senior Fellow. “This survey helps illuminate a checklist for governments looking to bridge the gap between what their citizens care about and their current policies.”
When asked more generally about how citizens would rate their home government’s performance in tackling key issues like corruption or terrorism, few respondents—with the exception of those in Nigeria—expressed that they felt their government was doing a “very good job” in tackling these issues.
“The combination of generally low marks for government performance on key issues like alleviating poverty and addressing corruption, and high levels of concern around the same things, signals the need for governments to shift their focuses towards these key issues,” said Chester Crocker, CIGI Distinguished Fellow. “All of this is informed by the fact that today more and more African states are becoming considerably better at managing conflict.”
The results of this survey are based on face-to-face interviews conducted in each of the countries between February and May 2016.
Read the full report

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About CIGI

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics that support research, networks, debate, and policy for multilateral governance improvement. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org