Home Opinion Press Releases Africans’ Bleak Economic Outlook Mirrors Escalating Poverty Experience, Afrobarometer Surveys Reveal

Africans’ Bleak Economic Outlook Mirrors Escalating Poverty Experience, Afrobarometer Surveys Reveal

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Negative Assessment Of Economic Conditions
Negative Assessment Of Economic Conditions

Africans’ concerns about economic management have surged in recent years, placing the  issue second only to unemployment among the top priorities that citizens want their  government to address, the latest Afrobarometer Pan-Africa Profile shows. 

Based on surveys in 39 African countries between late 2021 and mid-2023, the analysis shows  that citizens offer increasingly gloomy appraisals of their country’s economic condition and  their personal living conditions, and fewer than half expect things to improve in the near  future. 

In growing numbers, Africans report going without basic necessities such as a cash income,  medical care, food, and water. In most surveyed countries, majorities are experiencing  moderate or high lived poverty, and citizens’ ratings on key indicators of their government’s  economic performance are bleak and getting worse. 

Key findings 

On average across 39 countries surveyed between late 2021 and mid-2023,  unemployment and management of the economy top the list of the most important  problems that Africans want their government to address, along with health (Figure  1). 

Across 31 countries surveyed consistently since 2014/2015, the proportion of  citizens citing management of the economy among their top priorities has more  than doubled. 

About two-thirds (65%) of citizens assess their country’s economic condition as “fairly  bad” or “very bad” (Figure 2). More than half (52%) also hold gloomy views of their  personal living conditions. 

On average across 31 countries surveyed consistently since 2014/2015, negative  reviews of the country’s economic condition have risen by 15 percentage points, and  those of personal living conditions by 7 points (Figure 3). 

Citizens are divided as to whether economic conditions will get better (40%) or worse  (35%) over the next 12 months. 

Eight in 10 respondents (81%) say they or a family member went without a cash  income at least once during the previous year, including 43% who did so “many  times” or “always” (Figure 4). 

Two-thirds (65%) report having gone without medical care at least once, and  about six in 10 suffered shortages of food (59%) and water (56%). 

Six in 10 Africans (61%) experienced moderate or high lived poverty during the past  year. 

Moderate-to-high lived poverty has been increasing and affected majorities in all  but eight of 39 surveyed countries, including more than eight in 10 citizens in  

Congo-Brazzaville (86%), Mauritania (84%), Niger (84%), and Cameroon (81%). Only a quarter (26%) of Africans say their governments are doing “fairly well” or “very  well” in managing the economy (Figure 5). 

o Even fewer give their governments passing marks for their efforts to improve the  living standards of the poor (22%), create jobs (20%), narrow income gaps (16%),  and keep prices stable (12%). 

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