I heard a really interesting presentation by Andrew Rzepa of the Gallup opinion poll company recently, sampling public views in 2009 in 18 Sub-Saharan African countries with the following questions:
· Could you please rank the following elements on this card in order of importance for you as an individual? 1 being the most important and 6 the least important
· What is the most important issue the government should address in the next 12 months?
· Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
· The price of food has increased significantly over the last few months
· In the next six months it will be harder for my family to eat because food prices have increased
· Because of these price increases, we can no longer afford 3 meals a day
· The government of this country is doing enough to help people to get food
· Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money full to buy the food that you or your family needed?
· Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or your family gone without enough food to eat?
The full presentation is here, but some highlights are:
Poverty and hunger topped people’s priorities (see table, right). Interestingly, new technology came bottom, but unfortunately (from my perspective, if not Andy Gray’s), second bottom was gender equality.
Two thirds of people felt their governments were not doing enough to help people get food, but the variation within Africa is striking, with Malawi’s government apparently earning approval for its fertilizer and seed subsidies (see Max Lawson’s recent post on this). (bar chart, right)
In the previous 12 months, 60% of adults had experienced not being able to buy the food their family need. Think about that for a minute.
They’re repeating the exercise this year – should be interesting to see how views have changed (if at all).