BBC poll shows favorable opinions of South Africa growing

Positive global opinions of South Africa have increased dramatically over the past 12 months, based on the annual BBC World Service Country Rating Poll of 16 major nations around the world.

Thanks to some extent for the excellent hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, along with the country’s new membership associated with the “Brics” group of fast-growing emerging economies, the proportion of poll participants favorably ranking South Africa’s impact across the globe increased from 35% to 42%.

This has been the second-biggest increase on the list of nations surveyed, following Brazil’s leap in positive international perceptions from 40% to 49%, moving South Africa into ninth place when it comes to the overall order of global popularity.

From the 27 nations around the world surveyed, 17 currently have favorable opinions of South Africa, two have “slim negative” opinions, while eight are divided.

Germany turned out to be the most favorably viewed nation, with 62% of participants ranking its influence as favourable (an improvement of three points).

Responding to the question, “Please let me know if you believe each one of the following nations is having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence around the world?”, the 16 nations around the world surveyed ended up being rated as follows: Germany, UK, Japan, Canada, France, US, Brazil, China, South Africa, India, South Korea, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran.

‘Crucial emerging-market player’

“The actual expanding credibility of middle forces is definitely the story this year, this is especially true for Brazil and South Africa,” GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller mentioned in an interview after the most recent opinion poll results were unveiled.

Catherine Grant, head of economic policy at the South African Institute of International Affairs, shared with local newspaper Business Day the fact that the particular study “reaffirms South Africa’s standing as being an essential emerging-market player which could no longer be overlooked”.

Grant furhter stated the fact that the outcomes will give South Africa a lift in advance of its very first meeting as a new member of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa) bloc to be held in China in April.

The survey is determined by 28 619 in-home or telephone interviews carried out across 27 nations around the world by international polling company GlobeScan, along with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland.

Ups and downs

Participants had been requested to rate the influence across the world of 16 important nations around the world as well as the European Union.

On the whole, 13 of the 16 countries ranked posted increases in positive ratings. These include the USA (up by four points to 49% positive) as well as the UK (up five points to 58%, which makes it, the very first time, the second most positively rated country).

In noticeable comparison, three of the most negatively perceived countries observed their particular rankings change from bad to worse, among them Iran (59% negative, “up” three points), Pakistan (56% negative, “up” 5 points), and North Korea (55% negative, “up” 6 points).

Israel, for a number of years among the list of least positively viewed nations, bucked this trend, maintaining its negative rankings at 49% and additionally exhibiting a small elevation in positive ratings, from 19% to 21%.

“Despite the fact that this past year comparatively dour opinions of countries had been prevalent – most likely highlighting the climate associated with the downturn in the economy – the mood at the moment appears to be relatively upbeat,” stated Pipa director Steven Kull.

Who likes South Africa?

Based on the study, 42% of individuals around the world currently have positive opinions of South Africa, a seven percentage point growth since 2010, at the same time negative views of the nation continued to be constant at 27%.

According to 27 nations around the world surveyed, 17 currently have positive opinions of South Africa, two have “slim negative” views, whereas eight are divided.

South Africa is especially well-liked by its African counterparts, with positive opinions greatest in Kenya (73%), Nigeria (67%) and Ghana (57%). In Egypt, positive opinions increased substantially, by 26 points to 40%, at the same time negative ratings fell by 14 points to 13%, helping to make the overall view of SA shift from negative to positive.

In Brazil, opinions of South Africa changed from being divided in 2010 to “leaning positive” in 2011 (42% vs 36%), the market research identified, as a consequence of a seven-point decline in negative views. Opinions associated with SA were 48% positive in Mexico and 43% postive in Chile, however divided (23% versus 24%) in Peru.

“Perspectives are increasingly becoming warmer in North America, due to considerable positive changes noticed in South Africa’s positive influence ratings in Canada (45%, up 9 points) along with the US (50%, up 13 points),” the survey uncovered.

South Korea’s view of South Africa increased from divided to positive (54%, up 14 points), while favourable thoughts and opinions tripled in Turkey (43%, up 30 points).

European views when it comes to South Africa are mixed, based on the survey. Spain went from being negative to divided (35% positive, up 15 points), on the other hand United Kingdom went from leaning positive to divided, accompanied by a 17-point increase in negative views (to 42%) outweighing a seven-point increase in positive opinions (to 43%).

While Italians had been divided in 2010, 54% at the moment are leaning favourable (up 14 points), all the while negative ratings have fallen nine points to 28%. Germany stands out as the only country in Europe with all round negative opinions when it comes to South Africa.

Australia’s viewpoint continued to be divided in 2011, with positive and negative evaluations of SA both up 13 points to 43%. In the Philippines, positive opinions have risen by 11 points, however opinion continues to be negative overall (35% positive versus 52% negative).

In China, perspectives have changed since 2010 after having a 22-point increase in negative ratings (to 41% in 2011), and the Chinese public is currently divided. In Indonesia, approximately four out of 10 rate South Africa positively (38%, up 7 points), and opinion has moved from divided to leaning positive.

“The least favourable countries when it comes to South Africa are Japan, Pakistan, and Russia (16%, 17%, and 19% positive views respectively),” the feedback survey identified. “Publics within these nations are generally divided, and all three possess higher than average proportions of individuals who failed to express a viewpoint in this particular question.”

Source: southafrica.info, worldpublicopinion.org, globescan.com, saiia.org.za

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