How we see Africa now

Polling of 2,000 UK adults reveals a huge need to open our eyes to Africa

Recent polling of 2,049 UK adults reveals misconceptions and negative attitudes towards Africa – highlighting the key areas that the See Africa Differentlycampaign needs to focus on.   

The polling – conducted by research company ComResin Autumn 2011 – uncovers some shocking misconceptions.

1 in 5 people mis-identify Africa as a country. This rises to more than 1 in 3 people aged 18 – 35. It is, of course, the world’s second largest continent - containing 54 countries.  

Hardly anyone (just 2%) knew that 7 of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Most people (32%) responded that they didn’t know and over a quarter (28%) of participants thought it was a meagre ‘1 to 2’ African economies. 

Only 3% of people associate Africa with technological innovations. Yet Wired magazine reported this year that: “From mobile payments to telemedicine...there’s a common pulse of innovation (in) the new Africa” - in a fantastic article showcasing the impressive amount of techno-firsts Africa boasts. 

And just 5% equate Africa with gender equality. But 16 African countries have more female MPs than we have here in the UK – and Rwanda has the highest proportion in the world. 

The polling highlighted the sort of negative attitudes we’re keen to change. 

We asked respondents what words come to mind when they think of Africa: 84% said ‘poverty’ ; 62% said ‘corruption;’ 52% said ‘a long-term charity case.’  

Despite the negative images associated with the continent, the good news is people aren’t writing it off  – a majority (61%) disagreed with the statement that ‘Africa is a lost cause.’ 

We’ll keep you updated on how we’ll use these stats to inform our strategy, spread the under-reported good news and campaign to shift perceptions and overturn misconceptions.  

Article contributed by:

Ama Uzowuru

"There is more than a single story to be told about Africa. Africa is on the rise & I'll be blogging about this through a medley of themes."


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