portrait of a Maasai warrior in kenya: photo courtesy

  More Kenyans consider themselves optimists, compared to citizens of other major African economies, a new survey has found. The Global Optimism Outlook Survey found that 70 per cent of Kenyans views themselves as optimists, above the global average of 56 per cent, and the continental average of 64 per cent. In terms of geographic regions, South America was found to be home to the largest number of optimists (74 per cent).

Commissioned by Expo 2020 Dubai, and conducted by YouGov, the survey tracked people’s priorities for the future, looking at sustainability, economic growth, technology, travel, and more. More than 20,000 people across 23 countries were surveyed, broken down by geographic region, gender, employment, marital status, and income. Despite the breadth of diversity, it appears the majority of the world is closely aligned when it comes to the key issues facing the planet’s future.


Kenyans’ optimism about the future has been linked to, among other factors, new opportunities being created by a thriving digital technology landscape, decentralised system of government, and a continued uplift in socio-economic conditions across the country. According to the survey, Kenyans were found to consider natural resource conservation, alternative energy and zero waste as most important in creating a better future, while ranking technological developments such as ride-sharing and electric vehicles least. 

Similar to other African economies, 85 per cent of Kenyan respondents believe that knowledge gathering, learning and access to education is the best avenue towards unlocking opportunity in the year 2050. Other important tactics identified are access to resources (82 per cent) and collaboration across borders and cultures (81 per cent). Furthermore, 97 per cent equally believe that technological advances will continue to connect people globally, as well as they believe individuals and communities will shape the future through knowledge sharing.

Looking toward the future with a sustainability lens, the survey found that Kenyans believe that conservation of natural resources, alternative energy and zero waste are most important at creating a better world. Unlike many other global respondents, 70 per cent of Kenyans are considerably optimistic about mankind’s ability to combat climate change.

In the next three decades, Kenyans would most like to experience free trade (82 per cent), self-powering and energy producing transportation (72 per cent), carbon free travel (68 per cent), e-commerce (66 per cent), and cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) (66 per cent). From a sustainability point of view, they would most like to experience smart cities (73 per cent), sustainable architecture and infrastructure (71 per cent), and sustainable food (70 per cent).

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said :  “In just over a year, Dubai and the UAE will be bringing the world together for the World Expo, in a spirit of collaboration, and creating an open global dialogue that allows us to look towards the future with renewed optimism.

“We developed the Global Optimism Outlook Survey to help us understand what the citizens of the world believe will shape a better future. People from around the world have spoken, and we are listening. The results show that we are more connected than we may believe. That dialogue, communication and collaboration are essential, and that we are united in our desire to create a happier, more inclusive, cleaner planet. Whether you’re sitting in South America, China, or here in the UAE, we’re connected in our passions for a better future” she added.

Global outlook

On a global level, the results highlight nine in ten  respondents believe that individuals and communities can shape the future through greater knowledge-sharing, communication and collaboration.Knowledge-sharing, learning, and greater access to education also stood out as dominant themes across all regions: Middle East (55 per cent), Western and Eastern Europe (61 per cent), Asia (61 per cent), North America (63 per cent), South America (68 per cent), and Africa (72 per cent).

Overall, South America (74 per cent) is the most optimistic region, followed by Africa (64 per cent), the Middle East (60 per cent), Asia (57 per cent), North America (50 per cent) and West/East Europe (50 per cent). ude_���.”t�



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