What do Africans think of the Chinese? It’s a valid question given China’s expansion on the continent.
In a recent report, the pan-African, non-partisan research network Afrobarometer revealed findings of surveys taken in 2014 and 2015 from almost 54,000 respondents in 36 African countries. The results show how China’s foreign investment and influence is perceived in their territories.
As it turns out, nearly 63% of Africans said China’s influence is “somewhat” or “very” positive. Such views are dominant in Mali (92%), Niger (84%) and Liberia (81%).
Only 15% see it as somewhat/very negative.
In addition, 56% see China’s development assistance as doing their countries a “somewhat” or “very” good job.
Study co-author Anyway Chingwete said (via CNN):
“There is a negative narrative of China in Africa. But I believe ordinary citizens have a positive sentiment because of the contribution China has made to Africa.”
Findings also revealed that Africans primarily favor the Chinese because of the latter’s investment in infrastructure and development (32%). Other reasons include low cost of products (23%) and business investment (16%). However, there is negative opinion on the quality of Chinese products.
Interestingly, China still falls behind the United States as Africa’s preferred development model, with 24% favoring the East Asian country against 30% for the United States.