Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The United States lost its status as Africa’s most influential global power last year as its star dwindled and other countries including Russia and China gained more supporters.

A new Gallup report shows that average approval ratings for Washington — demonstrating the country’s soft power — fell from 59 percent in 2022 to 56 percent in 2023.

Of the four world powers, the United States was the only one whose image did not improve across Africa in 2023.

Meanwhile, China’s approval in the region rose 6 percentage points, from 52 percent in 2022 to 58 percent in 2023, two points ahead of the United States.

Last year, China recorded the highest approval rate in Africa in a decade, and in seven countries — many of them in West Africa — Beijing saw double-digit increases in approval compared to 2022.

The largest increases came in Ghana (+15 points), Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal (+14 points each).

China’s influence — and investments — on the African continent have risen in recent years, and China is now Africa’s largest single trading partner, and Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative extends to a large part of the continent and invests heavily in infrastructure projects.

Acceptance rates in the United States have also fallen sharply elsewhere – in Uganda (-29 points), Gambia (-21 points), and Kenya (-14 points). Of these three, only Kenya, its ally, has received majority approval. U.S. leadership ratings were the lowest in Libya (23%) and Somalia (25%).

Approval of Russian leadership now averages 42 percent, compared to 34 percent a year earlier, with double-digit increases in eight countries.

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