The increasing presence and influence of China in Africa is controversial to some. But not, it seems, to Tanzanians. New data from the latest round of Afrobarometer surveys has just been released, with some analysis (pdf) of how Tanzanians perceive Chinese influence.
I have four charts for you. First, how influential do Tanzanians think China actually is, compared to other countries / institutions?
China and the US are way out in front, leaving the South Africa, the UK and India trailing. I don’t think the British High Commission in Dar will be very pleased with this.
I’m surprised also by the low level of influence that Tanzanians perceive from international organisations – the World Bank, IMF, UN, the AU and the East African Community all fit into this category, but almost no-one said they were the most influential.
Next, is Chinese influence in Tanzania seen as a good thing?
The answer here is overwhelming. The vast majority of Tanzanians see Chinese influence as positive. China has clearly done a good PR job, avoiding the kind of problems they have had in Zambia and elsewhere.
So what exactly is it that Tanzanians appreciate so much about China?
A wide range of answers, but economic factors (investment, cheap products) seem to trump political and cultural issues.
And for completeness, what do Tanzanians dislike about China?
Again economics comes out on top – poor quality products, taking jobs and business away from locals.
I expected that Tanzanians would have a positive view of China, but not to this remarkable extent. Though it didn’t come out in the findings, surely the long history of the relationship between the two countries has played a big part in this.