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Young Africans See China as Most Influential Country

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-06-23 09:47:29 | Author: Staff Reporters

Members of Chinese medical team with local staff in Conakry, capital of The Republic of Guinea. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

By Staff Reporters

China has overtaken the U.S. and is now viewed as the most influential foreign country with a positive contribution in the eyes of African youth, according to a survey released on June 13.

Conducted by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, the survey showed that 76 percent of 4,507 young Africans across 15 countries named China as a foreign country with positive influence on their lives, compared with 72 percent for the U.S.

More than half (54 percent) of young Africans surveyed said China has a great impact on their country, with positive sentiment strongest in Rwanda, Malawi and Nigeria.

"We see China having climbed to pole position, we see a recognition of the fact that China is engaging in Africa at a time when very few others are," said Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of the foundation during an interview in Johannesburg "In Africa, America has played a very limited role, it has actually played an embarrassingly insignificant role in terms of actual investment, actual trade, actual building of infrastructure."

In the survey, the top reasons given for China's influence being positive are: affordable products, Chinese investments in infrastructure development on the continent and China's creation of job opportunities in African countries.

Strengthened Trade Ties

Chinese investment in Africa has been climbing despite the pandemic. The General Administration of Customs of China recently noted that bilateral trade between China and Africa amounted to 254.3 billion USD in 2021, an increase of 35.3 percent from 2020. In the first quarter of 2022, Customs' official data confirmed that trade between the two increased by 23 percent, reaching 64. 8 billion USD.

Data from Ministry of Commerce further revealed that over the last 20 years, China's trade with Africa has risen 20-fold, showing that China has become one of Africa's biggest bilateral trading partners.

According to a report released by the Economist, 33 of the poorest jurisdictions in Africa export 97 percent of their exports to China, with no tariffs and no customs duties.

It is noted that though bilateral trade was still heavily centered on China's imports of Africa's natural resources, China had increased its imports of manufacturing products from more diversified economies such as South Africa in recent years.

In addition, China has created 25 economic and trade cooperation zones in 16 African countries. The zones, registered with China's Ministry of Commerce, had attracted 623 businesses with a total investment of 735 billion USD at the end of 2020, said the China-Africa Economic and Trade Relationship Annual Report (2021).

These figures fully demonstrated the confidence of Chinese enterprises in Africa's future development.

Infrastructure Footprint in Africa

To aid Africa with these massive infrastructure needs, China has provided significant fund for key infrastructure projects on the continent. Since 2011, China has been the biggest player in Africa's infrastructure boom, a 40 percent share that continues to rise, according to Forbes.

Between 2007 and 2020, China's two main overseas development banks invested 23 billion USD in infrastructure projects on the continent, according to an analysis of the Center for Global Development, a U.S. think tank.

At the Eighth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit held in 2021, China pledged 40 billion USD to infrastructure projects in Africa as part of the country's Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035.

As a monument that exemplifies the historical friendship between China and Africa, is the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, which was built up with Chinese assistance in the 1970s.

Other major infrastructure projects such as Lobito-Luau railway in Angola, Kigamboni Bridge in Tanzania and photovoltaic power plant in Kenya, also marked strengthened momentum cooperation.

President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa praised China in his latest column in the local Sunday Mail newspaper, saying that, "Here in Zimbabwe, China has helped fund and implement several projects in the sectors of energy, air transport, water, real estate, industrial value addition, mining and defense."

Editor: 汤哲枭

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