24 Oct 2016
- On average across 36 African countries, China is the second-most-popular model for national development (cited by 24% of respondents), trailing only the United States of America (30%). About one in 10 respondents prefer their former colonial power (13%) or South Africa (11%) as a model.
- Countries and regions vary widely in their admiration for various development models. In Southern and North Africa, China matches the United States in popularity, and in Central Africa, China takes the lead (35% vs. 27%). In five Southern African countries (Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe). South Africa is the most highly regarded development model.
- A plurality of Africans see their former colonial power as wielding the greatest external influence in their country (28%), followed by China (23%) and the United States (22%). China’s influence is perceived to be highest in Zimbabwe (55%), Mozambique (52%), Sudan (47%), Zambia (47%), South Africa (40%), and Tanzania (40%).
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of Africans say China’s influence is “somewhat” or “very” positive, while only 15% see it as somewhat/very negative. Favourable views are most common in Mali (92%), Niger (84%), and Liberia (81%).
- A majority (56%) of Africans also see China’s development assistance as doing a “somewhat” or “very” good job of meeting their country’s needs.
- The most important factors contributing to a positive image of China in Africa are its infrastructure/development and business investments and the cost of its products, while the quality of its products gives its image a black eye. Political and social considerations rank low among factors affecting China’s image on the continent.