ATTITUDE TOWARDS WORK IN THE AFRICAN SETTING

Africans are among the most likely in the world to believe people in their countries can get ahead by working hard. The 85% of Africans who said they believed this in 2013 rivals results found in more developed nations, and is on par with the 84% who believe this in Northern America. This faith in work ethic could be a major asset to plans that may emerge next week at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where African and U.S. leaders will focus on ways to stimulate growth and opportunities for the next generation. For many Africans, working hard is not an option; it’s often required to meet even their most basic needs. This mindset may help explain why such sizable majorities in all 32 African countries surveyed in 2013 believe people can get ahead through hard work, ranging from nearly universal acceptance in places such as Malawi (98%) and Ghana (97%) to less than two-thirds sharing this view in Angola (63%). Although large percentages of Africans living in Francophone — or French-speaking — countries and Anglophone — or English-speaking — countries believe it’s possible to get ahead through hard work, residents in Francophone countries have lagged behind Anglophone countries for the past several years. The gap has been narrowing, but the persistent differences illustrate the different political and economic realities in these countries. Africa is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in the world, with abundant natural resources, yet the continent’s leaders and the international markets have yet to fully tap one of their most valuable resources — their citizens. Good governance, jobs, training, and coaching could potentially translate Africans’ strong belief in hard work into real economic power.

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