China's Growing Presence in Africa Wins Largely Positive Popular Reviews
"Strategic collaboration with Africa has become a priority in the global North, East, and West. Powers that once saw the African continent primarily as a source of raw materials now focus on “partnership” and “development,” following the lead of the U.S. African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in highlighting mutual benefits of investment and trade. China, in particular, has rapidly increased its ties to the continent in recent years, with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), formed in 2000, as the primary institutional vehicle for its strategic engagement with sub-Saharan Africa. Steven Kuo reports that because of Africa’s price-sensitive market, the continent’s telecommunications and infrastructure development has become reliant on Chinese technology, which is competitively priced and enjoys strong back-up service compared to its Western competitors. Africa has also seen huge growth in smaller Chinese investors in food outlets, retail shops, and textiles. China, on the other hand, mainly imports minerals from Africa, along with smaller amounts of oil and agriculture products. It is also estimated that more than 1 million Chinese, most of them labourers and traders, have moved to Africa in the past decade. How do Africans see China’s foreign investment and influence in their countries? The public holds generally favourable views of economic and assistance activities by China. Africans rank the United States and China No. 1 and 2, respectively, as development models for their own countries. Remarkably, in three of five African regions, China either matches or surpasses the United States in popularity as a development model."