" we need to see how we suffer here, you can't even move to make your trade, and the people are hungry, it is the most sad ", says Anna at the other end of the phone from a French-speaking African countries. His government is, however, well placed to be put in place quickly a solidarity fund accessible on just sending an SMS. But nothing, the young woman shopping between two isolated towns that just seems to earned by the concern. Since the african continent, it is not uncommon to hear people say that they fear more to die of hunger than of disease coronavirus, casting the idea behind the health crisis, another scourge prepares for his return : the hunger. How to measure this feeling ? Is it real ? How the Africans live-in practical terms this period ?
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concerns, specifically african
It must be emphasized that hunger riots have punctuated the history of the continent, the last of which in 2008 marked the memory of Egypt in Cameroon, through Senegal and Mauritania. On the other hand, the images that we have received the announcement of measures of restriction are not more to reassure. In some countries, we have seen the forces of the order to show extreme violence to impose the orders from above, we saw images of women, men running around with their wares on the head, to shelter. Since then, what has happened in the past ?
A little over two months after the first cases, we are not the only ones who want to learn a little more. Deloitte, the survey institute OpinionWay and the consulting agency 35°Nord are immersed in an analysis of public opinion in africa in eight countries* anglophone and francophone. They have interviewed almost 4 017 people, representative of the population aged 18 years and over, between the 2 and the may 14, 2020. The results are published these days in the form of a survey. Entitled " public opinion african response to the crisis of the Covid-19 ", a study of 46 pages confirms the fears of all the experts. Africans are indeed concerned about the impact of the sars coronavirus and its socio-economic consequences, but less so than the Europeans. And this is a surprise.
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The spectre of the economic crisis
Africans are concerned about the priority of the economic situation, with the recession that is cutting edge. According to the projections of the world Bank, economic growth in sub-saharan Africa is expected to fall to 2.4% in 2019, to become negative and ranging between - 2.1% and - 5.1% in 2020. Translation in the survey : 60 % of respondents believe that the economic situation in their country will get worse and 12 % that it is not going to change, so that the continent is in the last twenty years on a dynamic of sustained economic growth and confidence in the future. In spite of the responsiveness of governments, concerns very specific on the consequences of the crisis are emerging. At the top of the list of fears for the job. 53 % anticipate a deterioration of the situation of their company or their professional situation. Then come the poverty and the food crisis. For Hugues Cazenave, president of OpinionWay, " the spectre of a return of food riots, as in 2008, in some countries, probably contributes to strengthen these concerns and to increase these results. These concerns reflect the problems of economic concrete generated by this pandemic ", he explains in this study that Africa has received a copy.
The food crisis, a reality that is already there
Hard to go about it, especially when the governments themselves recognize the fragilities of their countries. The government of Burkina Faso, which is not part of the study of Opinion Way, announced, Wednesday, June 3, 12 of the 45 provinces of the country will experience a "food crisis" between June and August 2020. During this period, 2 151 970 people in all regions will be in severe food insecurity and 137, 175 people in the regions of Sahel, Centre-North, the East and the boucle du Mouhoun could find themselves in a situation of food emergency, according to the same source. It is precisely in this region tense in the south of the Sahara that the equation is more complicated for the authorities. According to the agency 35°Nord, who co-led the study, there is a line of divide between the north and south of the Sahara. It's simple, to the north, the Algerians and the Moroccans say they are confident to 67% and 96 % in terms of their ability to meet their food needs. For the sub-saharan Africa, it is a different story, since 82 % of respondents in South Africa, the first economic power on the continent – consider the risk of food shortages " important ". These concerns relate mainly to staples such as rice, flour, vegetables or oil.
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Strong adherence to prevention measures
Despite this overall picture is quite dark, the Africans interviewed have a strong sense of optimism about the future. Because a majority of them, 81 %, have trust in government " to limit the effects of the epidemic ". A significant rate that has not completely convinced or who, in any case, raises many questions since the publication of the survey. To understand, we must go back to the very beginning of the crisis, at the time, experts feared that african leaders did not show the height. All the more that health systems are failing in many countries. But it should also be noted that some have shown reactivity ever seen with closures of the borders as soon as the first case. "The concern on the economic situation is lower than that estimated in France to 88 % and in Italy 76 %, for example. This shows a sense of responsibility and resilience in african remarkable, driven in particular by the reactivity of many african governments that, beyond measures of sanitary protection early, were able to quickly put plans in place to support the economies and social support of the populations, analysis Brice Chasles, Managing Partner, francophone Africa at Deloitte.
At the table of honor, the doctors and scientists come out as the big winners in the ranking of the players with the highest level of confidence to inform people about the pandemic. This level is still comparable to those observed in Europe.
governments to the test
Like anywhere else in the world, the measures have, it seems, is consensus in a first time, leaving a large margin of manoeuvre to the authorities. Including visibility in the media. For the communication specialist Philippe Partridge, a partner at 35°North african governments with levels of confidence the highest have been very active in terms of communication, both to their international partners and among populations, he states, continuing that by engaging directly with their citizens, some african States have succeeded in this, the pandemic is taken in hand at once by the governing and the governed, and it transcends, for the moment, the cleavages or tensions but also policies that one can sometimes observe on the continent. "Without any parliamentary debate, without public debates, which can sometimes crystallize the tensions, as is currently the case in South Africa, where the justice has retoqué good number of the measures decided by the government of president Cyril Ramaphosa. In recent days, after the time of the consensus, the Senegalese took to the streets in protest to demand an end to the curfew and the state of public health emergency. In Mali, the authorities have not decided to close down the mosques, which has certainly helped to avoid violent protests, but the late measures of health emergencies also announces the return of oppositions, so far silent, because of the prohibitions of gathering.
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* Read the survey conducted in eight countries (South Africa, Algeria, Côte d'ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria)