Based on opinion leaders from twelve African countries, the AfricaLeads 2021 survey marked a strong performance by Turkey on the continent, while France continues to lose ground.
The AfricaLeads 2021 poll has revealed that Turkey is steadily cultivating a positive image in Africa – a rise that appears to be coming at the expense of France, which has seen its standing on the continent steadily plummet.
In 2019, France was ranked 5th with a 21 percent favourable image, before falling to 6th in 2020 with 20 percent. This year, it had deteriorated to 7th with 17 percent.
Conversely, Turkey jumped from 8 percent in 2020 to 15 percent this year, an increase of nearly 100 percent to rank just behind France at 8th.
Conducted from last November to this January, the poll was prepared by the Paris-based research firm IMMAR, and publicly shared at the Africa Forum 2021 hosted by the French Investors Council in Africa (CIAN).
Since 2018, more than 2,400 opinion leaders from the continent spread over 12 countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, DR Congo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Morocco) have been asked about the situation of the continent itself, the image they have of various countries, and those designated as the most beneficial partners.
The list of people interviewed include politicians, employers, artists, intellectuals, athletes and religious leaders. About a third are women.
Thanks to its enduring soft power on the continent, the US continues to maintain its lead when it comes to image with 43 percent, although it lost 5 points compared to last year.
It was followed by Germany with 37 percent, Canada with 34 percent, the UK with 28 percent, China with 22 percent and Japan with 19 percent.
Among the most beneficial partners, Turkey ranked sixth at 66 percent. China topped with 74 percent, followed by the US at 74 percent, Canada 72 at percent, Germany at 71 percent, and Japan at 70 percent.
France came ninth, with 57 percent.
Le sondage AfricaLeads 2021 indique que l'image de la France s'est nettement dégradée aux yeux de l'opinion africaine, ainsi qu'une percée spectaculaire de la Turquie, des Emirats arabes unis et du Qatar https://t.co/a4dRBHrFU9 pic.twitter.com/0SVRov9BDt— Eşref (@yeftale) March 18, 2021
Alongside Turkey, the standing of Gulf nations UAE and Qatar also improved.
On the continent itself, South Africa topped as the country with the best image in Africa at 40 percent, followed by Morocco, Ghana and Rwanda.
Increased Turkish investments in Africa and Turkish Airlines’ commitment to expand into Africa by adding new destinations are said to have played a key role in Ankara’s improved standing on the continent over the past year.
Meanwhile, France’s waning influence in the eyes of the African public has been met with alarm by CIAN Deputy Chairman, Etienne Giros.
“We have a problem. France is very present in Africa, we have a long-standing relationship which is at the same time sentimental, cultural, military, economic, diplomatic…We are one of the first countries in terms of development aid, the companies that we [CIAN] represent [contribute] 60 billion euros of turnover in Africa, and yet our image is declining every year,” he said.
“We should seriously question ourselves.”