It is hard to believe that The Economist could outdo their last fiasco on Africa but believe it they have and it is true. Readers may recall their report that stated that everyone in Tanzania was earning less than $2 a day, even the richest Tanzanians!!! (Note 1)
Now they have a piece explaining why Trump is so popular in Africa. (Note 2)
“Nigerians, Kenyans and South Africans are twice as likely to hold pro-American views as the average German. American culture is certainly trendy. “Black Panther” was a huge hit in Africa. Hip-hop and American fast-food joints are also popular.”
It may never occur to them that in countries where getting a US green card is a treasured ambition and where trust in the anonymity of pollsters is non existent and where saying negative things about an existing US President may ruin your chances of a green card if you were identified – that alone may explain everything you need to know. During the 2016 election I can confirm that there was widespread detestation of candidate Trump in Nigeria as it was assumed from his rhetoric that he was an anti-Black racist and anti- Muslim (Islam is the majority religion in Africa). Many in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa have relations in US who no doubt speak highly of the advantages available in US and this will have much greater impact on their opinion than popular media.
The Economist then quote a witty streetwise comic Trevor Noah:
‘ “As an African, there’s just something familiar about Trump that makes me feel at home,” said Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, in 2015. He noted that Mr Trump’s boasts about his wealth, power and brains are similar to those of the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin’ . Really? Can you keep a straight face. So they can’t tell sarcasm even if it hits them in the face!!
For readers not familiar with Trevor Noah’s sense of humour I can report one excellent gag of his . He relates how he was travelling business class on an American flight. He got into his seat and pretended to be testing every button and behaving as if he had escaped from coach. He even asked his neighbour ingenue questions. Very soon his neighbour became angry believing Trevor was an impostor and called the stewardess. She politely asked Trevor for his boarding pass and noting that it was a business class ticket walked away. Trevor then leant over to his neighbour and explained that he gave the stewardess $20 and it was now all OK!!!!
How stupid can you get to talk to Trevor Noah (or just quote him from his comedy routine?) and not suspect that he might wind you up if he thought the question stupid.
Who in Africa would think being compared to Idi Amin was a compliment? (For The Economist as I suspect they lack any history …it was Britain that installed idi Amin and it was the Tanzanian army that removed Idi Amin to widespread African applause.)
Understanding the Pew research (Note 3) is difficult as it does not show any class/region breakdown. Media information about Trump for most Africans is meagre and there appears to be no prior test question to evaluate whether the respondent had any knowledge whatever of Trump policies which are not aired in local media like they are in Europe. and US. It would have been useful if they had put in a dummy question that would identify that the selected had no actual knowledge of Trump or his policies. For some reason The Economist chose to ignore Tunisia. Last I knew Tunisia was in Africa. Tunisians according to Pew had one of the lowest approval ratings for Trump at 17% just ahead of Brazil at 16% and Germany at 10%. Well, let’s just ignore what does not fit our story.
The Economist appears to be competing with the National Enquirer in respect of its coverage of Africa and doing so with no little success.