Corrupt leaders a big problem - poll
July 25 2007 at 02:30PM
A plurality of Africans polled in 10 sub-Saharan countries say they are better off than they were five years ago, but a majority sees corrupt political leaders as a big problem, The New York Times said on Wednesday.
"Many said they faced a wide array of difficult and sometimes life-threatening problems, from illegal drug trafficking to political corruption, from the lack of clean water to inadequate schools for their children, from ethnic and political violence to deadly disease," the Times said.
The poll by The New York Times and the Pew Global Attitudes Project was based on face-to-face interviews in April and May with 8,471 adults in Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
"The survey sampled nationwide adult populations, except in South Africa, where the sample was completely urban, and Ivory Coast, where it was disproportionately urban and tended to be in areas sympathetic to the government," the Times said. The margins of error were plus or minus three or four percentage points.
Ghanaians and Tanzanians were most satisfied with the way democracy worked in their countries, while Nigerians and Ethiopians were the least satisfied among those surveyed.
Except for Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Uganda, a plurality of those polled said their financial situation had improved in the last five years, the Times said.
Overall gross domestic product growth in Africa last year was 5.7 percent, it said, helped by the rise in the prices of oil, iron ore, copper and timber.
About 25 million of the 40 million people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, and a large majority in every country polled saw the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases as a big problem, the Times said.
But few said they had been tested for HIV - ranging from four percent in Ghana to 27 percent in Kenya and Ethiopia.
About half or more in eight countries said they had been unable to pay for medical care, but a majority in all the 10 countries except Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania said they had enough money to buy food for their family, the paper said.
Getting access to clean drinking water was also seen as a big problem by a majority in all 10 countries, the Times said, as were poor-quality schools.
When it came to politics, "a majority in each country said corrupt political leaders were a big problem," it said.
In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, two out of three said their presidential election was not conducted fairly.
Eighty-seven percent of Nigerians polled said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in their country, the paper said.
"Yet Nigerians were the most optimistic of all the nations surveyed - 69 percent said they expected that children growing up in Nigeria would be better off than people today," it said.