CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD
EGYPT remains the safest country in Africa to walk in at night, according to a global report, as Benin recorded the biggest improvement in its law-and-order ratings since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Egypt tops the Africa rankings, with a confidence level of 85 percent, followed by Mauritius (83) and Tanzania (79) as the three safest destinations to walk alone at night on the continent in 2020.
Other safe destinations are Benin (77), Burkina Faso (75), Algeria (75), Morocco (75) and Ivory Coast (71), according to Gallup’s Global Law and Order 2021 report.
Gallup measures people’s perceptions of their own security and faith in the rule of law using two security metrics— people’s feelings of safety walking alone at night in the area where they live and their confidence in local police.
While the report acknowledges that not much has changed overall, a number of African countries have recorded improved confidence in their security apparatus.
“These figures have not changed much for years, but in 2020, the percentages of people who said they feel safe walking alone at night and have confidence in their local police edged up just slightly, from 69 percent for each in 2019” shows the report.
“The results overall show that not much changed between 2019 and 2020, and there is still much room to grow,” said the report.
Benin increased its security trust rankings by eight points -the largest rise in the continent from 69 percent it recorded pre-pandemic.
Senegal (75) and South Africa (61) emerged the second and third most improved countries to walk safely at night with a 4-point rise each in security confidence levels.
Though a number of African countries are ranked among the least likely to walk at night – South Africa and Gabon in particular – their slight rise in confidence levels last year has helped push up global trust rankings in police forces.
Gabonese have upped their law and order rankings by a percentage point to 53 percent in 2020.
Ivory Coast (71) and Mauritius (83) are also among African countries that saw a 2 percent and a percentage rise in security trust ratings over the period.
According to Gallup data nearly seven in 10 people worldwide in 2020 said they feel safe walking alone at night where they live (72) and have confidence in their local police (71).
In overall rankings, eight African countries had their safety rankings within or above the global average of 72 percent. Security ratings in Ghana (69) and Zambia (62) remained unchanged compared to pre-pandemic levels.
An eight-point drop in Index scores in Guinea to (57 percent) and seven points drops in Nigeria (59), and Mali (62) as well as fall in confidence levels by five points in Cameroon (58) and four points in Kenya (63), deflated Africa’s overall score by two percentage points to 65 percent.
Substantial drops in levels of confidence on local police from 55 percent to 40 percent were recorded in Nigeria — on allegations that police brutality led to violent protests — and 56 percent to 40 percent in Guinea.