Listen more to the wisdom of elders than to the fresh ideas of the youth – Ghanaians say

A majority of Ghanaians – and even of youth – think it is more important to listen to the wisdom of the elders than to the fresh ideas of the young, the most recent Afrobarometer study shows.

Only about one-third of Ghanaians agree with the idea that “in order for our country to do well, we should listen more to fresh ideas from young people.” The need to pay more attention to the youth is a minority view across key socio-demographic groups – even among the young people themselves.

The survey also shows that although the youth are no less interested in politics than their elders and are about equally likely to have participated in 2016 electoral activities, they are less likely than older citizens to contact their leaders, attend community meetings, and get together to raise issues.

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On International Youth Day, these findings point to the need to intensify advocacy for the inclusion of young people in policymaking.

Listen more to the wisdom of elders than to the fresh ideas of the youth - Ghanaians say
Listen more to the wisdom of elders than to the fresh ideas of the youth – Ghanaians say

Key findings

  • Only about one-third (36%) of Ghanaians agree with the idea that “in order for our country to do well, we should listen more to fresh ideas from young people.” Instead, a majority (54%) say that “we should listen more to the wisdom of our elders,” including 40% who “agree very strongly” with this view.
  • The need to pay more attention to the youth is a minority view across key socio-demographic groups – even among youth themselves (38%). Men (40%) and respondents with post-secondary education (40%) are somewhat more likely to emphasize listening to youth than are women (32%) and citizens without formal education (30%).
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of youth say they “occasionally” or “frequently” discuss political matters with friends and family – about the same proportion as among older age cohorts.
  • And in terms of political participation, youth are about as likely as their elders to have been engaged in 2016 electoral activities such as attending a campaign rally (31% among those aged 18-35), working for a candidate or party (17%), and being contacted by a political party (22%).
  • However, they are less likely than older citizens to have attended a community meeting (43%), gotten together with others to raise an issue (39%), and contacted leaders during the previous 12 months.

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018.

Round 8 surveys in 2019/2020 are planned in at least 35 countries. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer team in Ghana, led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), interviewed 2,400 adult Ghanaians between 16 September and 3 October 2019. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Ghana in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017.

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