Despite latest research finding that the continent is the “unhappiest” in the world, the African population in general is “hopeful” about the future and believe 2014 will be more economically prosperous than the previous year.
In contrast to 60% of global citizens saying that they are happy with their lives, Africans are the least happy, according to research house Ask Afrika.
Ask Afrika recently revealed the results of the WIN/Gallup International’s annual global End of Year survey which explores the outlook, expectations, hopes and fears of people from 65 countries around the world. Despite having had an economically challenging year, almost half the people surveyed around the globe have a more positive outlook for the upcoming year.
South Africans reflect this optimistic sentiment and over 50% think that 2014 will be more economically prosperous than 2013.
Ask Afrika shared these insights and conducted the South African poll for the 37th annual survey. WIN/Gallup International is the leading global market research association and Ask Afrika CEO, Andrea Rademeyer, is the Africa chair. More than 66 806 people were polled across the globe representing the views of 65 countries with a total population of 84 857 489. The number surveyed has increased by over 10 000 since 2012 when 55 817 participated in the survey.
Global happiness index
The majority of the world is happy with life: 60% of those surveyed globally indicated that they are content compared to just 12% who are unhappy and 26% who felt they are neither happy nor unhappy.
Africa is the unhappiest region in the world with 26% reporting unhappiness, despite being relatively hopeful, 48% were hopeful in their global outlook and 36% in their economic outlook. Some countries within Africa are more positive, 66% of Morocco’s population claimed they are happy. Those in the Middle East are also more positive, with a significant 80% in Saudi Arabia stating they are happy with their life. This is dramatically reduced to 33% in Iraq.
Year 2014: “better than 2013”
Globally, a majority had a positive outlook for 2014, with 48% believing that next year would be better than 2013, compared to only 20% who thought it would be worse.
Expectations of economic prosperity recorded split results, with a narrow margin of 32% of the world’s population believing that 2014 will be a prosperous year, whilst 33% think it will remain unchanged, and 30% believe 2014 will be a year of economic difficulty.
Looking at the results on a global scale, the Asian and MENA regions are the most optimistic, with 62% of those in Fiji hoping for a more prosperous 2014 and 55% in Saudi Arabia hoping for the same.
In South Africa, however, 50% feel that the next year will be better, compared with 24% who think it will stay the same.
Elsewhere on the African continent there is a more positive outlook with 60% of those in Algeria saying 2014 will be a better year.
Western and Eastern Europe are the two most pessimistic regions with 86% and 78% respectively thinking the economy in 2014 will either get worse or stay the same – a result that could be attributable to the tough economic conditions suffered this year.
Jean-Marc Leger, president of WIN/Gallup International Association, commented: “Despite an unstable economic situation, our happiness index is extremely high all over the world except in Europe. Moreover, people think that 2014 will be better than 2013. Optimism is back in the world.”
Happiness over the decades
Since the WIN/Gallup International End of Year Survey began in 1977, people’s outlook on economic prosperity for the coming year can be divided into two camps. Between 1977 and 1988, people were generally pessimistic about the coming year with the net response (percentage of those who thought the following year would be better minus those who thought it would be worse) being negative.
However, in the subsequent period when the question was asked, the outlook has been more positive, peaking in 2005 at +21%, and in recent years being +7% in 2012 and +2% in 2013.
The global barometer of hope and despair is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr George Gallup in 1977. It is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out by associates of WIN-Gallup International in 65 countries around the world.
Source: Ask Afrika