News and Information

'We are proud to be Africans'
October 18, 2004
More than 90% of Africans are proud of their continent, a new survey conducted for the BBC shows.

While many people in the rest of the world see Africa as plagued by war and poverty, many Africans are far more positive about their lives.

The majority say their family will be better off, or the same, this year compared to last.

This survey of African attitudes is a rare event. More than 7,500 people were interviewed in 10 countries.

Family head

Most of those who took part in the Pulse of Africa survey said that other people saw Africans as peaceful, friendly and rich in natural resources.
Sudan refugee on a donkey
Many Africans remain positive despite their tough lives

Some 40% of Nigerians and Ghanaians felt better off compared to a year ago, while Zambians say they have seen the least progress.

Africa's most pressing problem is poverty, most said, followed by HIV/Aids, unemployment, illiteracy and corruption.

And most were not happy with their governments.

Only in Kenya (69%), Rwanda (66%) and Ghana (56%) did a majority say their governments were doing well.

Surprisingly, although Africa accounts for the vast majority of deaths from Aids around the world, in most countries in the survey, 80% of those questioned believed their government was doing a good job in tackling the disease.

Strong traditions

Africans say they are deeply religious and family-orientated, still believing in traditional gender roles.

Ghanaians are industrious, hard-working. They are confident and bold
See the Pulse of Africa survey in full (275K)
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The percentage of those agreeing that: "The man should be the head of the family" ranged from 73% to 96%, with a slightly higher figure in West Africa.

While western music and clothes are becoming more common across the continent, many of those surveyed said they had local tastes.

Around half of the Nigerians and Malawians said they preferred to only wear traditional clothes.

A clear majority preferred music from their own region in seven out of the 10 countries.

No amount of brightly-lit streets, dripping chocolate and satellite TVs can take the place of such soulful simplicities
Joy Simwaba, Zambia

Have your say

While most of those surveyed were generally positive about Africa, a clear majority said that given a choice, they would emigrate, mostly outside the continent.

South Africa was the only country named as a popular destination and no-one at all wanted to live in Nigeria - Africa's most populous country.

Countries outside of Africa that were most popular were the United States, United Kingdom and France.


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