Ipsos recently published its latest Global Advisor report focusing on the biggest threats facing the world and individual countries.
Three quarters (74%) of global citizens polled in 27 countries around the world agree that over the last year the world has become more dangerous, a seven percentage-point reduction from 2017.
While a majority feel that their government should focus less on the world and more at home (73%), the global public are also strongly in favor of continuing engagement with the world.
Three quarters say their country has a responsibility to be a moral leader and set an example for other countries (74%) and a similar proportion are committed to the principle of multilateralism – that they should work with other countries towards global goals, even if their own country does not get exactly what it wants (75%).
US president Donald Trump’s approach to foreign affairs has received a subdued global assessment – just three in ten agree that his tactics have made the world a safer place.
The most positive nations, where close to half agree this is the case, are Israel (52%), India (52%) and China (49%), followed by Poland (47%) and Saudi Arabia, the US and Brazil (all 44%).
In all other nations polled at most a third agree that Trump has made the world safer: Turkish and Russian citizens are the least likely to agree (13% and 14% respectively), followed by Germans and Canadians (both 16%).
The perception that a variety of sources pose a threat to security have eased since last year, but many still believe that there is a real threat of the following happening in the next twelve months.
- The threat of being hacked for fraudulent or espionage purposes (70%, down 4 points);
- The threat of a terrorist attack in your country (64%, down 8 points);
- The threat of nuclear/chemical attack taking place somewhere in the world (63%);
- The threat of a major natural disaster in your country (62%, down 1 point);
- The personal safety and security of you or your family members being violated (58%, down 5 points);
- A violent conflict breaking out between ethnic or minority groups in your country (57%, down 4 points);
- A major health epidemic in your country (49%, down 4 points);
- Your country entering an armed conflict with another country (48%, down 6 points).
While South Africans are less concerned about major threats such as natural disasters and armed conflict, the country tops the list in a number of areas.
More than any other country, 73% of South Africans believed that there was a threat of a major health epidemic breaking out in the country over the next 12 months.
Additionally, 81% were confident of violent conflict breaking out between ethnic or minority groups in the country in 2019.
82% said they were confident that the personal safety and security of either them or their family members would be violated in the coming year – likely as a sign of the country’s high crime rate.
Also concerning is the fact that South Africans frequently ranked last when asked how well they believe the government will be able to deal with these threats:
- 30% said that they were confident that the government would provide adequate safety and security following a nuclear attack;
- 36% said that they were confident that the government would provide adequate safety and security should a violent conflict breaking out between ethnic or minority groups;
- 42% said that they were confident that the government would provide adequate protection should a health epidemic break out;
- 37% felt that government was prepared for a terror attack;
- 37% felt that government was equipped to respond to issues that could impact the personal safety and security of either them or their family members.