How Africans Feel about China's Influence
China’s growing engagement with Africa has had a positive, albeit uneven, effect on Africa’s economic growth, economic diversification, job creation and connectivity. China-Africa relations are mostly organised via government to government relations. But the perceptions and wellbeing of ordinary people also need to be better considered. In 2016 the pan-African research institute Afrobarometer published its first study on what Africans think of their governments’ engagement with China. The study found that 63% of citizens surveyed from 36 countries generally had positive feelings towards China’s assistance. Some things that stood out were China’s infrastructure, development, and investment projects in Africa. On the flip side, perceptions of the quality of Chinese products tarnished the country’s image. In 2019/20, Afrobarometer conducted another wave of surveys. Data from 18 countries – gathered face-to-face from a randomly selected sample of people in the language of the respondent’s choice – was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey questions covered how Africans perceive Chinese loans, debt repayments, and Africa’s reliance on China for its development.
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