Public and Elite Views on Europe vs. China in Africa
University of Pretoria; Centre for Social Investment, University of Heidelberg; Hertie School of Governance; UNU Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies
affiliation not provided to SSRN
The International Spectator, Vol. 46, No. 1, March 2011, 69–82
Europe has been the privileged economic and political partner of Africa, but more recently China has increased its foothold in Africa through important financial investments and trade agreements. Against this backdrop, our empirical research conducted in 2007-2008 in Kenya and South Africa as part of a pioneering international project investigates the perceptions of public opinion, political leaders, civil society activists and media operators. While confirming their continent’s traditional proximity to Europe, African citizens are increasingly interested in China and its impact on Africa’s development. While African civil society leaders and media operators describe China as an opportunity for Africa to break free from its historical dependence on European markets, other opinion leaders warn against too much enthusiasm with the Asian giant. On the one hand, Europe is increasingly criticized for not having been able to dismiss the traditionally ‘patronizing’ attitude towards Africa. On the other hand, China is expected to bring a breath of fresh air into the African context, although there is still suspicion that the Chinese strategy might, in the long run, turn into a new form of economic patronage.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: European Union, China, Africa, perceptions, trade, colonialism
Date posted: July 5, 2012 ; Last revised: October 29, 2012