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New Survey Indicates Africa Admires US

  • Sarah Simpson

Global opinion is increasingly wary of the world's largest powers, especially the United States, according to a new survey of 47 countries. But the world's poorest continent, Africa, is bucking that trend and remains a firm admirer of the world's sole remaining superpower. Sarah Simpson reports for the VOA from Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos.

Anti-Americanism is extensive, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project released this week, except in Africa where the U.S. is widely admired.

In Nigeria's throbbing commercial capital Lagos, where one in three people lives in a slum, bus driver Bright Adedokun thinks it is natural that Africans love the U.S. because they all want to go there.

"People think America is God's own country. And that is what most blacks believe," he said. "Black Africans, we believe that is the ultimate. You see people dying every day to go to America. Why? Because we think things are very easy over there."

Of the top 10 countries with the most favorable views of the United States, eight were in Africa according to the Pew report. Of the two remaining, one was the U.S. itself. The other was Israel.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil exporter yet most Nigerians are very poor. Bamidele Alabi says if Nigeria were to learn from the U.S., that would not be the case.

"Americans plan ahead, they plan years. We do not plan anything," he said. "We just do everything the way we want to do it. It is done. I believe we should go closer to the Americans and learn one or two things from them."

For now, young people like Chidiuto Gabriel get much of what they know about the U.S. from films and music.

"I like their films because they do things in action. Everything they do, it goes with action. You will see maybe they are fighting wars and one person must win. That is the proper thing there," said Gabriel.

The U.S. role in real-life warfare, like the U.S.-led war in Iraq, has made many people in Europe and in the Muslim world critical of U.S. leadership.

Not so in Nigeria's Christian south. Bus driver Adedokun says if the U.S. were to invade Nigeria, he would be happy.

"If such a thing happened in Nigeria at least I would be one of the ones to be dancing, because I am going to live a better life," he said.

Not all Nigerians are in love with the U.S. While 94 percent of Christian Nigerians have a positive view of the U.S., less than half of the country's Muslims do, according to the report.

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