Africans happy with Chinese investments: survey

Updated: 2014-03-18 10:56


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NAIROBI - The majority of Africans are happy with Chinese massive investments in the continent, a newly published survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa with the aid of the Global Compact Network Kenya which is housed under the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) revealed on Monday that Africans felt that Chinese businesses were reliable and were contributing to job creation on the continent.

The survey, Africans' perception of Chinese Business in Africa, carried out last year in 15 African countries, notes that the majority of Africans have welcomed Beijing's foray in the continent.

According to the report, the largest number of respondents to the survey came from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Africans happy with Chinese investments: survey
Africans happy with Chinese investments: survey
Africans happy with Chinese investments: survey
Compared to the other two countries, Kenyans had the most positive evaluations of Chinese businesses with 75 percent saying that investments by Chinese companies had a positive impact on developing their country.

According to the study, 23 percent of the respondents believed that Chinese company operations were above board and not mired in corruption.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Betty Maina said China has offered stiff competition for local manufacturers and urged more Chinese firms to invest in areas of where the East African nation lacks skills.

The study aims to provide a factual basis for dialogue with the Chinese government and Chinese companies about their involvement in the continent.

China, the world's second largest economy, has intensified investments in Africa with trade increasing from $10 billion in 2000 to an estimated $200 billion in 2013, four years after overtaking the United States as the continent's largest trading partner.

The Asian nation is particularly eyeing infrastructure development projects across the region, pitting it against development partners such as India, Japan and traditional giants like Europe and the United States.

With support from their governments, Chinese firms are targeting the expected windfall in the region's telecommunication, mineral extraction, engineering and consumer goods markets, fields previously dominated by Western firms.

Economic experts say Beijing's growing influence on the continent is now a concern among traditional Western donors who are questioning the trend among African countries to give contracts for major projects to the Asian giant regardless of the financier.

However, trade relations between Kenya and Western nations continue to boom despite the East African nation exploring new bilateral ties, particularly in the east.

New economic data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released last week indicated that Western nations remained one of the top destinations of the country's exports last year.

Kenya's top trading partners in the West, according to KNBS, are Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and France.