2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that NGOs and business are the most trusted institutions in Nigeria

NGOs and business are seen as most trusted

Nigerians are more concerned about losing their jobs than contracting Covid-19

February 23, 2021 – LAGOS – The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that Nigerians place more trust in NGOs and business than they do in the media and government. Against this backdrop, there is a clear mandate for business leaders to take extraordinary steps to set the country on a new trajectory in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With the pandemic having exacerbated social and economic challenges, Nigerians are looking to civil society organisations and business to partner with government in uplifting communities and driving positive change,” says Jordan Rittenberry, CEO of Edelman Africa.

“Covid-19 has put trust to the test like never before. NGOs and business can build on this new mandate by working together with government to address pervasive issues, such as joblessness and unequal access to quality education and healthcare services.”

The 21st annual Edelman Trust Barometer, which measures trust as a function of competence and ethics, is based on a nationally representative survey conducted through October and November 2020.

According to the survey results, NGOs are the most trusted of the major institutions in Nigeria, followed closely by business.

This comes after many civil society organisations and private businesses took unprecedented steps to protect the most vulnerable in local communities and society at large. Businesses have also taken visible steps to ease the burden of the pandemic and lockdowns on customers.

Further, numerous high-profile business leaders – including Aliko Dangote and Zenith Bank founder Jim Ovia – donated significant amounts towards relief efforts.  And the private sector-led Coalition Against Coronavirus (CACOVID), which partners with the government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, has mobilised resources to tackle the crisis.

According to the survey, Nigerians are more sceptical about Covid-19 vaccinations than their peers in most other markets. Only 59% of respondents say they would take a vaccine within the next year, versus the global average of 64%.

Meanwhile, Nigerians are more concerned about issues such as job security and the loss of personal freedom than they are about contracting Covid-19.

With the pandemic having already led to job losses, most Nigerians worry that it will accelerate the rate at which companies replace employees with artificial intelligence and robots. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that the crisis has deepened inequalities.

With this in mind, 92% of respondents believe that CEOs should publicly speak out on societal challenges such as job automation and the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns. And 79% want to see CEOs step in when the government does not adequately address issues.

“The pandemic has further raised fears and increased the urgency to address foundational problems and deepening inequities Nigeria,” Rittenberry says. “To further shore up trust, businesses need to keep their employees and customers safe and informed through the pandemic and beyond. Job skills training programmes, and initiatives aimed at increasing diversity, should also be high on the agenda in company boardrooms.”

“All institutions will likely raise their trust scores if they work together to overcome Nigeria’s biggest challenges,” Rittenberry adds.