Africans still see China favorably, but prefer US as global superpower — survey
China is still seen favorably by many in Africa, where it is vying for influence with Washington, though, worldwide, support for Beijing has undergone a sharp decline, a new global public opinion survey of people in 25 countries has revealed.
The survey by the Britain-based YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project that asked people about their opinions on China, the United States and Taiwan was carried out between August and September this year. It polled about 1,000 people in each of the 25 countries, including in three large African states — Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The data showed that while in the West, support for China has dropped considerably in the past four years, more people in Africa believe China is a positive influence on the world compared with many Western countries. For example, only 17% of respondents in France said China had a “generally positive … effect on world affairs,” down from 36% in the 2019 survey. Many other Western countries mirrored this trend, but the story is slightly different in Africa, where China is the continent’s largest trading partner.
Although its ranking also dropped slightly over the four-year-period in Nigeria and South Africa, across the continent, China was still widely seen as a force for good. In South Africa 61% of respondents saw China’s influence in the world as positive, in Kenya the support for China was higher at 82% and, in Nigeria, it was highest out of the three, standing at 83%. Still, despite Beijing’s no-strings loans and large infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, African support for the US remained slightly higher, reaching 69% in South Africa and 88% in both Kenya and Nigeria. On a separate question about which country, the US or China respondents would prefer to have as the global superpower, 20 of the 25 countries polled chose the former, including all four Africa nations by a huge margin.