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02.04.2004 General News

Africans hail democracy but cry woe to economic conditions

By GNA

Accra, April 2, GNA - A recent survey on the political, social and economic conditions in 15 African countries has shown that despite the growing popular support for democracy on the Continent most Africans are dissatisfied with their prevailing economic conditions. "In contrast to their positive views of political reform, Africans concluded that the process of economic reform has made their lives worse, rather than better," the Report said.

The 2002/2003 survey code-named Afro-barometer, an independent, non-partisan research project, solicited responses from over 23,000 interviews under the tutelage of the Institute of for Democracy in South Africa, the Centre for Democracy Development (CDD) and the Michigan State University. The project, which would soon become an annual activity, is being implemented through a network of national research partners focusing mainly on the measurement of the social, economic and political atmosphere in societies in transition in West, East, and Southern Africa.

Presenting the findings, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, CDD said survey indicated that the levels of deprivations were very high in most countries as over one half (53 per cent) say they or their family had "gone without enough food to eat at least once in the previous year and 18 per cent had done so frequently". He said chronic unemployment was among the major underlining factors to Africa's economic discontentment as only 22 per cent of the respondents said they were gainfully employed.

Prof Gyima-Boadi said only about one in three Africans thought that their governments were performing well when asked to evaluate their government's performance on job creation, controlling inflation and narrowing income gaps. He said two-thirds said they supported democracy with larger proportions rejecting military dictatorship or any non-democratic forms of rules adding "they consider themselves better off under the new democratic conditions. Prof Gyimah said in Ghana the commitment with regard to satisfaction of democracy had grown from as about 50 per cent in 1999-2001 to 70 per cent in 2002/2003 and that the rise in levels tended to be higher in countries that had had electoral change over.

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