Africans trust towards the G7 nations is low

Updated: Jul 6

A survey of 7,506 Africans reveals that the US is seen as the most trusted partner amongst the G7 countries.



The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organization of the world's seven largest "advanced" economies, which dominate in global trade and the international financial system. The G7 countries work together to help strengthen international and security policies, as well as conduct important discussions in regard to pressing global issues such as climate change and gender equality. In Africa, G7 countries as well as other foreign nations, intervene/advice on pressing issues within nations or on a larger scale across the continent, while also supporting development plans, however simultaneously ensuring that the G7 countries interests/needs continue to be met by these African countries.


For Africans, these interventions can be seen as a double-edged sword, as much as they are receiving support in finances, technology, etc. it is a vested interest. The G7 countries rely on African resources such as labour, security etc. and these ‘advanced’ economies work this way to ensure their relationships with African countries remain strong and loyal. Across Africa, countries have maintained various ties with these G7 countries over time, and based on the responses, consistency, and impact of the G7 countries efforts, Africans have formed views and perceptions about them. Additionally, as with any relationship, trust is vital to maintain good relations, thus, Africans perceptions and views are indicative of the trust levels towards the G7 countries and other countries.


Our Kasi study - G7 Sentiment Tracker in Africa asked 7,506 respondents in 16 African nations about their awareness and trust towards the G7 countries and other independent nations that have economic interests/relations in Africa. The study identifies patterns on which foreign nations are most trusted and how this relates to people across Africa’s population.


Africans are hesitant to trust and rely on G7 countries


Respondents across the 16 countries surveyed show hesitancy in supporting the efforts of G7 countries. Only an average of 14% respondents demonstrated strong agreement towards the statement that a specific G7 country was fair, respectful and honest to their country. Amongst the countries surveyed, South Africa and Zambia showed greater support towards statement with close to 50% of respondents strongly agreeing to the statement across the G7 countries.


USA is the most trusted partner in Africa


Across Africa, it is evident that the United States of America (USA) is the most trusted partner. In total, 17% of respondents in all the 16 countries strongly agreed on the statement that the USA is fair, respectful and honest to their country. The US has been active in supporting economic development and sustainability initiatives in the African continent. The US department of state demonstrates this support through the three most recent initiatives in healthcare, economic prosperity, and the environment.


Given the immense strain on the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, the US provided 90 million doses of the COVID-19 to 48 African countries, along with more than $1.8 billion in COVID-19 assistance. Furthermore, due to the economic challenges that came with the pandemic, the US backed the decision to suspend the debt of 32 African countries. Finally, given the environmental challenges faced as a cause of climate change and global warming, the US provided electricity to more than 88 million people in Africa (since 2013)—and 80 percent of that power generation created through renewable energy.

These are a few actions and impacts of USA’s intervention in the continent, and as a result, the USA has gained significant respect from countries like South Africa (69%), Zambia (43%) and Ivory Coast (26%) who strongly agree that the USA has been fair, respectful and honest to their countries. Many other African nations have ranked the USA highly and therefore, on average the USA is the most appreciated G7 country amongst Africans.


Italy is the least trusted partner in Africa


Italy presented the lowest levels of trust amongst respondents, with only 13% strongly agreeing with the statement. According to a source, Italy’s past relationships with Africa, in particular Ethiopia could be a cause of this lower trust. Given the colonial post war landscape, Italy has a tarnished name in some African countries, hence why Africans have more hesitancy in this particular G7 country.

The UK and Japan place second and third after the US for Anglophone countries


Following the US, the UK and Japan are ranked second and third amongst most Anglophone countries. For the UK, 20% strongly agree that the UK has been a fair, respectful and honest country to Africa, while 18% believe the same for Japan.

Amongst the Anglophone countries, Kenya shows significant confidence in this statement with 15% supporting the UK and 14% supporting Japan in this statement. Tanzania shows a similar trend, with 10% strongly agreeing for the UK, and 8% agreeing to Japan. These particular Anglophone countries stand out more than the others, as their responses were more greatly varied for each G7 country; while for South Africa (70%) and Zambia (43%) similar/same percentages were strongly agreeing for the other G7 countries.


The UK strategy for Africa is based on expanding trade and ensuring that trade routes remain flowing freely. Through investments in ports and logistics infrastructure across Africa, the UK have worked to ensure that port cities feel the positive effect of such expansive trade routes.


Japan achieved this trust through a different approach than most other G7 countries; Japan's relationship with African nations is a mutual partnership, rather than a donor-recipient relationship. Additionally, Mr. Tanaka, head of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) notes the potential of these developing countries, stating that: “The North is no longer the sole solution provider to the South. It is rapidly becoming irrelevant.” He points out that the so-called developing countries such as Kenya are innovating in ways that developed countries never considered”


Francophone countries show greater confidence in France and Canada


On average, 11% of respondents in Francophone countries strongly agreed that France and Canada were trusted countries, following the US. The French speaking countries, reflect some unity here, with the highest percentages in Ivory coast; 26% strongly agreed to France while 22% for Canada.


This could be a result of the diplomatic relations between the French Republic and the Republic of Ivory Coast, whom are both members of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Recent efforts to mend relations between the two countries have led to greater trust and greater collaboration. President Macron’s personal work in west Africa prior to entering politics, enabled for better relations where the president was more understanding and respectful towards the decisions taken in Ivory Coast, rather than overtly promoting French interests. Similarly, President Ouattara has also worked to establish a better relationship with France that can be mutually beneficial.


Ivory Coast’s connection with Canada is met with the historical bilateral agreements and recent efforts that have promoted a close relationship. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1962 and soon after Ivory Coast gained independence. Both countries frequently collaborate within the international and multilateral bodies and organizations similar to Ivory Coast's relationship with France".


Although there are low trust levels overall, it is evident that certain African nations have preferred G7 countries to which they would state as reliable, respectful and honest to their countries. This is especially true when mutually beneficial relationships are formed and when there is consistency in the G7 country’s efforts. Across Africa, respondents have demonstrated how relations can differ across Anglophone and Francophone nations, yet there are other factors that could be at play in these relationships.


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