#VoicesAfrica Webinar: Beyond government relations - African citizens’ perceptions on Africa-China engagement


Welcome and introductions: Ms. Josephine Sanny, Afrobarometer

Discussion, moderated by Dr Yu-Shan Wu, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Discussants: Dr Edem Selormey, Afrobarometer

Dr Folashadé Soulé, Global Economic Governance Programme, Oxford University

Prof. Liu Haifang, Center for African Studies at Peking University

Africa’s engagement with China has been growing over the past decades and has extended to a large array of sectors. A plurality of actors is involved in this burgeoning relationship, stemming from heads of states, government officials to businesses and to some extent civil society actors.

Perceptions of African citizens on their governments’ engagement with China has been the subject of scrutiny and debate among analysts. In 2016, Afrobarometer released a report revealing what Africans thought of China’s influence on the continent and in their respective countries.

The report confirmed China’s important economic and political role in Africa but also generally portrayed its influence as beneficial. China’s infrastructure/development and business investments were reasons for China’s positive image in Africa, although that image is tainted by perceptions of poor-quality products.

Recent surveys by Afrobarometer update Africans’ perceptions of China’s role in Africa, the country’s political and economic influence in comparison to other external actors. The new data also speaks to perceptions of loans from China, debt reimbursement, and reliance on China and external resources for Africa’s development.