Residents in seven out of 12 African countries that were surveyed are now more optimistic about their future lives than they had been since 2007, with ratings increasing the most in Zimbabwe but deteriorating the most in Ghana, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.
Although Zimbabweans’ future life ratings had seen the most improvement since 2007, Nigerians had the most positive outlook on their lives in 2014, with an average rating of 7.9, on a scale in which zero represents the worst possible life and 10 is the best possible life, Gallup found.
Including last year, residents in the Western African country of Nigeria have had the highest positive outlook for their future lives in six of the past eight years. However, their expectations had been relatively flat, with the exception of a spike to 8.6 in 2011, the survey found.
In 2007, Ghanaians had the highest average future life ratings out of all 12 countries surveyed, at 8.1. But since then, their ratings have ebbed and flowed. Ghanaians’ ratings in 2014 were 0.9 points lower than where they stood in 2007, representing the largest decline among all 12 countries.
Cameroonians’ future life ratings have stabilized in higher territory after languishing near an average of 6.0 in 2007 and 2008, Gallup found.
In the Eastern region, Kenyans and Ugandans have evaluated their future lives similarly over time, although the former was one point higher than the latter in 2014 — 7.0 and 6.0, respectively.
Tanzanians, meanwhile, have consistently evaluated their future lives well below 6.0 every year, dropping below 5.0 in 2009. Their hope of a better future was essentially at the same level in 2014 (5.6) as it was eight years ago (5.7), and it is the lowest future life evaluation of all African countries surveyed over this time period.
Since 2007, South Africans have evaluated their future lives more positively than Africans in most other countries surveyed, averaging 7.0 or better in most years. However, South Africans’ ratings of their future lives did drop significantly, at two points.
The first occurred between 2008 and 2009, when they fell from 7. 8 to 7.2, at a time when the country experienced a large increase in unemployment. The second drop in South Africans’ ratings of their future lives occurred in 2013, when they dropped to 6.9 from 7.7 the previous year. Nelson Mandela, who was considered the Father of the South African nation, died during the survey field period, Gallup said.
The outlook of their Zimbabwean neighbors has improved a great deal since 2007, when their average future life ratings were below 4.0. At that time, hyperinflation plagued the country, and it was only in 2009 — when the government allowed the use of foreign currencies — that residents started to feel improvement.
Zimbabweans’ ratings of their future lives continued to increase until 2011 and 2012, when they peaked at 7.4. However, they have started to drop again and reached 6.0 in 2014, erasing gains over several years of consistently positive ratings, Gallup found. Enditem