Why businesses are more trusted than governments

Posted on February 5, 2014 07:58 am

Few weeks ago, an Australian research company released a survey that showed few months old government of Tony Abbot as very unpopular, a classic example of people’s mistrust on government and leaders. That is why people all over the world tend to trust businesses as the most trusted institutions ahead of media, non-governmental organizations and governments. It indicates public’s increased trust in businesses could be a reflection of faith in improving economic landscape after the economic recession five years ago. Research shows that people are looking to business leadership, to play a role in the development and change their countries, because they don’t believe that governments will make that change, a reason that has been cited for the rise and sky high popularity of nationalistic parties across Europe and Tea Party in United States of America. In Africa, government officials and regulators are said to be the least credible when compared with other professions in the continent. Overall, trust in government leadership remains poor worldwide and for the case of Africa, on average only less that ten per cent trust government leaders to fix problems from electricity, roads, crime, cost of living among others and two per cent on average in the continent trust government leaders to tell the truth.

This reflects a larger institutional failure of African governments to connect with their populations. Interestingly, African countries where the public trust their governments most of them are not democratic countries and elections are held for mere formality. One of them was Ethiopia where respondents had some of the highest levels of confidence in government’s ability to make ethical decisions but generally there seems to be a sense of malaise in African democracies. A new survey conducted in 22 African countries revealed that Africans strongly prioritize electricity, health, access to water and development of infrastructure above all other roles for their government and free market access. Updating the countries poorly equipped and maintained as well as aging facilities as imperative and majority especially in East and Southern African free market access as a priority. Overall, business leaders are still far more credible than government officials globally including Africa, overall results showing that more than three quarter of population in every country put their trust in businesses. This is because business people are more than twice as likely to tell the truth, compared to government leaders and more likely to fix problems in industries or sectors experiencing any challenge. I believe that trust in business leaders will remain significantly higher and most of us are going to continue putting faith in corporations because of their accountability culture and transparency.

Contador Harrison