What the world thinks of South Africa

A BBC World Service 2013 Country Ratings poll has revealed that global sentiment towards South Africa remains positive, overall, but only just.

The poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among 26,299 people around the world between December 2012 and April 2013, asked respondents to rate 16 countries and the EU on whether their influence in the world is “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.”

The poll results show that Germany is viewed most favourably across the world (59% positive views), taking over from Japan, which dropped from 58% positive in 2012 to 51% in 2013.

China and India have shown the sharpest decline on favour over the year – while the UK, in the wake of its successful hosting of the Olympics in 2012, was the highest climber.

BBC country rankings
BBC country rankings

South Africa world view

According to the survey, on average, South Africa maintains a positive global view (34% positive versus 30% negative) – though it’s position has slipped from 2012.

“Views of South Africa have deteriorated further in 2013, continuing the decline started in 2012,” the BBC said.

On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2012 and 2013, 34% of respondents have positive views of South African influence in the world — two points less than in 2012, the report noted.

At the same time, the proportion of those holding negative views has increased by five points to reach 30%.

“These changes make South Africa one of the countries where global views have deteriorated the most, after China, India, and Japan,” the BBC said.

Of the 25 countries taking part in the survey, nine hold South Africa in a positive view, while 11 lean negatively and five are divided.

SA world view
South Africa world view

Sub-Saharan African countries are the most positive about SA, with Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya all expressing positive views on the country, though the latter two countries’ views have shifted negatively in the past year.

Northern African countries have shifted positively, while the BRIC nations, Americas and Australians have middle-ground views on SA.

“South Africa is viewed cautiously by its counterpart emerging economies in the BRIC, and opinions in Brazil, India, and China do not seem to be quite settled yet,” the report said.

European countries, with the exception of France and Poland, remained generally negative about South Africa.

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What the world thinks of South Africa