Despite criticisms of president Barack Obama’s policies in Africa, America still remains quite popular on the continent.
In a just-released annual “US-Global Leadership Report” from Gallup, which measures people’s perceptions of America’s leadership in the world, Africa has the strongest approvals of the US of any region in the world, at 59%. In fact, in 24 of the 39 countries that were measured on the continent, more than half approved of US leadership.
In the region, Egypt gave the US the lowest marks. In Kenya, president Obama’s ancestral homeland, 58% gave the US a thumbs up, but that’s noticeably lower than Senegal, which has the highest figure at 81%. Perhaps Kenyans are still a little miffed that Obama snubbed them for their regional rival Tanzania when he made his first official trip to Africa as president in 2013. But he is traveling to Nairobi in July, so their love for him may increase accordingly.
Overall, however, African approval of US leadership has significantly declined. The report points out that the region contains “seven of the 16 countries worldwide where approval ratings declined by 10 or more percentage points.” But the report also notes that this may be due to some countries’ populations not proffering any opinion, rather than outright disapproval—and indeed, disapproval rates have stayed quite steady.
US popularity reached its peak in 2009 at 85%, coinciding with president Obama’s inauguration, then dropped gradually to its current rate of 59%.