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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

USA: Africa Policy On-Line Poll

USA: Africa Policy On-Line Poll
Date distributed (ymd): 990601
APIC Document

USA Economic Relations with Africa
West Coast Poll
June 1 - June 15, 1999

[If you are a resident of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, this pilot poll is for you. Express your opinions and win a free book! If you live elsewhere, please pass this on to your friends and acquaintances in those states. Responses from this poll will only be accepted until June 15.]

Note: This page is the version of the poll sent out by e-mail, for reference. If you wish to fill the poll out on line, please go instead to the web version.


What perspectives and policies should guide US relations with Africa in the policy arena of economy and development?

These are among the issues being discussed at the West Coast Regional Summit on Africa in San Francisco on June 4-5.

This Africa Policy on-line poll is open to everyone who is interested in U.S. relations with Africa and who lives in the states named above, the states represented at the regional summit. Just fill it out by e-mail or on the web, and send it in. The results of the poll will be compiled and publicized by APIC as well as submitted to the National Summit secretariat for their consideration.

For additional background on these issues, with documents and links from African, international, and US sources, go to:

Only the analysis of totals from this poll will be made public. All individual data will be treated as confidenial.

Please read carefully before responding:

(1) Responses other than from a valid postal address in the states indicated above, as well as multiple responses from the same person, will not be counted.

(2) How to fill in this poll:

(a) If you have access to the web, the easiest way is to go to, click in your answers and then click on Submit Poll.

(b) If you prefer to return this by e-mail, paste the poll contents into a message to and put an X INSIDE THE BRACKETS for your answers, like this [X] or this [name]. Do NOT use your reply function in your e-mail, as this may not return your answer to the correct address. Do not delete the text of the questions since otherwise your answers cannot be processed properly.

Our test runs indicate that it should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to fill in the poll on the web or approximately 15 to 20 minutes by e-mail. Sorry, the lack of staff time for data entry means we cannot accept fax or snail mail responses to this poll.

Thank you very much for taking the time to express your views on these issues.

West Coast Poll:
USA Economic Relations with Africa

Please check the multiple-choice answers which most closely represent your views.

General Perspectives

  1. <gen1> In order to develop, African countries need to join the "economic mainstream" by fully opening up their economies to free trade and investment from the rest of the world.

[ ] strongly agree [ ] agree

[ ] strongly disagree [ ] disagree

[ ] uncertain or don't know

2. <gen2>
In order to develop, African countries must give highest priority to investment in human resources and capacity building, and carefully negotiate for better terms in their economic relationships with the rest of the world.

[ ] strongly agree [ ] agree

[ ] strongly disagree [ ] disagree

[ ] uncertain or don't know

3. <gen3>
"Structural adjustment" packages including macroeconomic reforms such as devaluation, pricing policy, budget cuts and tax reforms, are most accurately seen as:

[ ] temporarily painful but necessary measures that do pay off in long-term economic growth

[ ] of doubtful benefit even in terms of economic growth, and definitely harmful to the poor

[ ] including some necessary measures, but both ineffective and unjust unless combined with other measures aimed at alleviating poverty and transforming economic structures

[ ] differing so much from one another in practice that it is wrong to generalize

[ ] uncertain or don't know


4. <debt1>
Are you familiar with the World Bank/IMF Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative or with the Jubilee 2000 campaigns for debt cancellation for poor countries?

[ ] yes [ ] no

5. <debt2>
If so, which statement most closely represents your view?

[ ] The HIPC initiative, with some additional resources, can provide enough debt relief for African countries to make it possible for them to pay their remaining debts on their own

[ ] The HIPC initiative falls far short; debt reduction measures should include more countries, deliver results more quickly and be de-linked from prior compliance with World Bank/IMF structural adjustment programs.

[ ] For most African countries, only complete debt cancellation would be enough to enable them to make a fresh start.

[ ] Cancelling debt for any country sets a bad example, and harms the investment climate for Africa by labelling African countries as not creditworthy.

[ ] none of the above

[ ] undecided, don't know

6. <debt3>
What conditions should be required for debt cancellation or other significant debt reduction for heavily indebted countries? (check one or two options, but no more)

[ ] current debt service payments in excess of 20 percent of export earnings (HIPC requirement)

[ ] current debt service payments in excess of 3.5 percent of export earnings (requirement for German debts to allies in 1950s)

[ ] compliance with economic reform packages as defined by World Bank, the IMF and donor countries

[ ] requirement that savings from debt reduction not be squandered on corruption, military expenditures or waste, as determined by joint monitoring by African governments, African civil society and creditors

[ ] no conditions at all

[ ] uncertain, don't know


7. <trade1>
Are you aware of the debate about the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the H.O.P.E. for Africa Act, now before the U.S. Congress?

[ ] yes [ ] no

8. <trade2>
If so, what best describes your position

[ ] support the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act

[ ] support the H.O.P.E. for Africa Act

[ ] think the best aspects of both bills should be combined in a compromise measure

[ ] think neither bill is good enough to support

[ ] undecided, don't know

9. <trade3>
In general, the best ways to advance mutually beneficial trade relations between the U.S. and Africa are (check your top 3 priorities):

[ ] open up the U.S. market by measures rewarding those African countries that are advancing most rapidly towards a free-market economy

[ ] open up the U.S. market by measures providing greater access for all African countries

[ ] more actively promote U.S. exports to Africa

[ ] help African countries develop so that they will be able to buy more from the U.S.

[ ] help African countries develop their export capacity, particularly for non-traditional and industrial products

[ ] help African countries develop greater trade relationships within African regions so as to create larger economic units for relating to the rest of the world

Private Investment

10. <priv1>
In order to attract more foreign investment that benefits their people, the highest priority for African countries is to:

[ ] eliminate all bureaucratic and legal barriers to foreign investment and put foreign investors on an equal playing field with domestic investors

[ ] establish national policies for industrial development and seek foreign partners to provide capital and technology in priority sectors and projects

[ ] concentrate on investment in human resources, government capacity building and infrastructure development that will create a favorable climate for investment

[ ] none of the above

[ ] uncertain, don't know

11. <priv2>
Investment ventures in Africa benefitting from incentives or subsidies from U.S. national, state and local governments should be required to comply with at least as high standards of environmental and workers' rights as they are legally required to in the U.S. and other industrial countries.

[ ] strongly agree [ ] agree

[ ] strongly disagree [ ] disagree

[ ] uncertain or don't know

12. <priv3>
Investment sectors most heavily favored by incentives or subsidies from U.S. national, state and local governments to invest in Africa should be (check your top 3 priorities):

[ ] those supporting African small farmers

[ ] communications infrastructure

[ ] transportation infrastructure

[ ] raw materials extraction (including oil)

[ ] those involving minority-owned U.S. companies

[ ] those promoting "non-traditional" exports

[ ] joint ventures with substantial participation from African partners, including government-owned as well as privately owned enterprises

[ ] no sectoral preference; evaluate ventures purely on potential for profitability for investors

Public Investment (also known as "aid")

13. <pub1>
Development assistance to Africa has declined sharply in the 1990s, while the U.S. rates the lowest among all rich countries with eight hundredths of one percent of GNP going to development assistance worldwide (less than 1% of the U.S. federal budget). The three best responses to these trends are (check one, two or three options only):

[ ] recognize that aid is on the way out, and rely on greater incentives to the private sector to encourage trade and capital investment in Africa

[ ] stress that public investment in health, education, and other social and material infrastructure is a prerequisite for African development, and that the international community should pay a fair share of the cost

[ ]stress that "aid" projects benefit the U.S. economy by providing markets for U.S. products and employment for U.S. contractors

[ ] focus on improvement in the quality of development assistance, including accountability to state and civil society in the recipient as well as 'donor' countries

[ ] argue that the U.S. is not paying its "fair share" of international public investment in Africa, as compared with other rich countries

[ ] argue that Africa is not getting its "fair share" of U.S. assistance, as compared with other world regions, reflecting the racial bias still entrenched in U.S. society

[ ] none of the above

[ ] uncertain, don't know

14. <pub2>
Please rate the priority that should be given to the following sectors for international public investment in Africa, on a scale from 1 (low priority) to 5 (high priority):

public health                 [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
education                     [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
small farmers                 [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
private business              [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
humanitarian assistance       [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
communications/internet       [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
children                      [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
women                         [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
large infrastructure          [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
good governance               [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5
environmental protection      [  ] 1 [  ] 2 [  ] 3 [  ] 4 [  ] 5

15. <pub3>
The following amounts for selected Africa-related programs were proposed by President Clinton for Fiscal Year 2000, in his February 1999 budget request. Please indicate for each whether you think the amounts should be increased, decreased, or kept the same. For comparison, the average unit cost of one B-2 bomber is $2.1 billion.

Development Fund for Africa (through USAID) $512 million

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

International Organizations (including UNICEF, UNDP and others) $294 million (world total)

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

Disaster Assistance $293 million (world total)

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

African Development Fund (low-interest affiliate of African Development Bank) $127 million

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

Debt reduction $120 million (world total)

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

African Development Foundation (for grassroots projects) $14 million

[ ] increase [ ] decrease [ ] keep the same

Your answers to the following questions will enable us to verify and analyze the poll results. However, only aggregate conclusions will be made public. All individual data will be treated as confidential. The e-mail addresses and addresses from this poll may be used very occasionally for announcements from APIC, but will not be sold or traded.

16. <first_name>

[ ]

17. <last_name>

[ ]

18. <organization>

[ ]

19. <postal_address>

[ ]

20. <city>

[ ]

21. <state (two-letter)>

[ ]

22. <postal_code>

[ ]

23. <email_address>

[ ]

24. <age>

[ ] Under 20
[ ] 20 to 35
[ ] 36 to 50
[ ] Over 50

25. <sex>

[ ] Male
[ ] Female

26. <education>
What is your level of education?

[ ] advanced degree
[ ] college degree
[ ] secondary school
[ ] other

27. <institution>
What is your primary institutional affiliation? (Check one.)

[ ] educational institution
[ ] commercial institution
[ ] governmental institution
[ ] religious institution
[ ] non-governmental organization (non-religious) [ ] media institution
[ ] trade-union
[ ] foundation or other philanthropic institution [ ] other

28. <africa_connection>
What are your significant personal connections with African concerns? (Check all that apply.)

[ ] Born in (or parents born in) an African country [ ] Worked in an African country for year or more [ ] Visited an African country for shorter time [ ] African-American or other African diaspora community [ ] Business interests
[ ] Academic interests
[ ] Other professional interests
[ ] Activist concerns for human rights, development,

environment, social justice and related issues [ ] None of the above

29. <citizenship>

[ ] U.S. citizen
[ ] citizen of an African country
[ ] other

Additional notes: (1) This is the first in what we expect to be a series of on-line policy polls. As such it is a pilot version. The results will help us address issues of wording, poll design, and other needed improvements in future polls for other regions and at the national level. If you have additional suggestions, please send them to

(2) There are both e-mail and web versions of this poll. As other on-line polls, neither meets the requirements for a scientific opinion poll based on a random sample of a fixed target population. The results will not be an accurate statistical profile of any group other than those who chose to answer it. They will, however, provide minimum estimates of the number of people expressing different views. If these numbers are large enough, the poll can be presented to policymakers as a significant expression of public opinion.

This material is produced and distributed by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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