It’s been said that trust is the new currency for business and for life. Trust drives who we do business with, how we make important decisions and who we allow into our lives.
While there have been many positive developments taking place in the world, we often find it tricky to separate fact from fiction, and to discern who is credible.
Last year, for instance we were bombarded with scandals, mistruths and ‘alternative facts’ from some of the strongest and most powerful institutions, unearthed and reported by the media. Many of us started to question which institutions truly espouse transparency, honesty and openness. It may come as no surprise that trust has declined on a global level.
It is in within this complex context that the Edelman Trust Barometer released results for East Africa for the first time. The report, which reveals to what extent a nation trusts its 4 major institutions – the media, Government, NGOs and business, comes to the region at an opportune time.
The results from the report paint an encouraging picture of the region and of our country. Kenya is one of the most trusting societies on the continent. On the global index the country sits in the trusting region at 67%. Our neighbours Tanzania sits at 74%. On the whole, Africa is on the cusp of being generally a trusting continent.
NGOs prove to be the most trusted institution on the continent, with Kenyans looking at the institution to reduce poverty, bring basic needs to communities and provide health care. Trust was at 71% for Kenya. In Nigeria it stood at 81%, while in Ghana it was at 83%.
Despite a rocky year due to the contested general election in 2017, trust in government remained relatively high at 61%, particularly at the county level. This demonstrates that perhaps Kenyans were ready to get back to business after the controversy. This stands in stark contrast to South Africa which stood at 14%. 2017 was a tumultuous for the country.
The internet, which has contributed to the democratization of information, has also allowed for the dissemination of false information, or ‘fake news’.
Fake news is a global concern; the 2018 Global Report highlights that between 66%-80% of people in the markets surveyed worry about fake news being used as a weapon.
On the continent, trust in the media has taken a hit. However it remains relatively high in Kenya at 80%. The media is the most trusted institution in the country.
When it comes to the private sector and business, 70% of the respondents agreed that driving the economic prosperity of the country is one of the most important things businesses should do, while 78% agreed that companies that only think about themselves and their profits are bound to fail. This demonstrates just how much businesses are expected to lead the country toward a better future and Kenyans are increasingly looking at CEOs to forge the way forward. Indeed, trust in CEOs and successful entrepreneurs sits at 69% and 79% respectively. 90% of Kenyans also believe developing a trustworthy company is the number one job of CEOs, ahead of ensuring that their products and services are of high quality.
As you attempt to navigate our complex world, you may find that the results from the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer East Africa report can provide some much needed guidance. If that may be the case, or if you simply want to learn more, please contact: Lorna Irungu-Macharia at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Wanjiru Kariuki at: email@example.com
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