WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Africans see jobs, education and security as their biggest areas of concern, according to a poll on Monday conducted by ONE, the anti-poverty campaign co-founded by rockers Bono and Bob Geldof.
The poll comes on the eve of an Aug. 4-6 African summit of nearly 50 African leaders hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington where deals worth billions of dollars are expected to be announced.
The poll offers a snapshot of priorities for Africans and their attitudes towards the United States from nine countries as small as Benin and Rwanda to larger and more populous nations including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
While most of the 4,500 respondents believe that the United States has had some impact on their country and community, they think the world’s richest nation has been slow coming to the party of an economically rising Africa.
The poll was conducted over a five-day period at the end of July surveying 500 people in each country, with the average age of respondent about 26. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.
As Washington prepares to showcase its interest in Africa at the summit, most respondents believe the United States has had “some impact” on their country and community although were not sure how supportive Obama had been.
Most respondents surveyed said the United States had “some impact” on their country and community. In Rwanda, however, 62 percent of respondents said the United States had a “big impact” on their country, as did 31 percent in Tanzania, and 37 percent in Uganda.
When it came to Obama’s support, 55 percent of respondents in Benin were not sure, as were 38 percent in Ghana, 41 percent in Rwanda, 47 percent in South Africa and 48 percent in Tunisia.
A large chunk of respondents, some 42 percent, in Nigeria believed Obama had been “very” supportive and 49 percent in Tunisia thought he had been somewhat supportive.
The poll measured attitudes towards governments and found that a vast majority believe their government had best addressed security issues, followed by education and corruption.
In Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia, security was the biggest priority. In Rwanda it was trade and jobs followed closely by education, security and health. To respondents in South Africa, education and jobs were key areas of concern.
In Benin, 36 percent of the people surveyed thought their government had best addressed agricultural and corruption issues. Some 43 percent of respondents in Kenya, 28 percent in Tanzania, 34 percent in Nigeria, and 81 percent in Rwanda listed security as the area where their government had done a good job.
All respondents felt their governments needed to invest a lot more in agriculture. In Tanzania, however, an overwhelming 56 percent thought their government should invest a bit more.
Editing by Eric Walsh