Tuesday, December 9, 2014

African Public Opinion on China and the US

Pew Research Center

What do Africans think about China? How does this compare with the US? I get asked these questions a lot, and I always try to resist responding with anecdotes along the lines of: "a taxi driver I spoke with in Ethiopia believes X about China/the US." The best data we have will be found in public opinion polls. Below is a quick survey of polls I know about. If readers have links to other polls, I'd love to include them.

The Afrobarometer asked a public opinion question on China in 2008 but I don't think they've repeated it. In that survey, 47% thought that China "helped somewhat" or "helped a lot" while 30% answered "don't know". For the US, 54% thought we "helped somewhat" or "helped a lot" and 29% didn't have a response.

The BBC regularly does a World Public Opinion poll (PIPA) asking some comparative questions on China, although their coverage of African countries is spotty. Their survey in 2011 had five African countries, Kenya (73% positive), Nigeria (85%), Ghana (72%), Egypt (55%) and South Africa (53%). All had at least 50% positive rating. Another BBC survey in two African countries in 2011 reported a positive view of the impact of China's growth on their country: Kenya (77% positive), Nigeria (82%). In 2013, the PIPA survey showed positive ratings of 78% for China in Nigeria, 68% in Ghana, and a decline to 58% in Kenya. Their 2014 survey showed a rise in favorable public opinion on China in Kenya (65%), stable in Ghana (67%) and a bit of a positive jump for Nigeria (85%).

The Pew Charitable Trust also includes some questions on China/US public opinion.

I think the most recent Pew survey took place in the Spring of 2013. The table from the US/China question is reproduced to the right. On average, 65 percent of Africans viewed China favorably, and 73 percent the US.

Earlier Pew surveys on this topic seem to have only included one country, Kenya. In 2010, 94% of Kenyans surveyed viewed the US favorably and in 2011, 83%. In the table on the right we can see a favorable opinion for the US of 81%,  In 2010, 86% of Kenyans surveyed viewed China favorably, and in 2011, this dropped to 71% and in 2013, it rose to 78%.

A survey of African stakeholders carried out in 40 African countries by the OECD for the African Economic Outlook 2011 found that emerging partners such as China were ranked as having a comparative advantage for cooperation in infrastructure, innovation, and even health compared with Africa’s traditional bilateral and multilateral partners. Economist Helmut Reisen, former head of research at the OECD’s Development Center commented: “these results are striking considering all the effort traditional donors have put into these sectors.”  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Call for Proposals: Chinese Overseas Finance and Aid

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) SAIS China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) announces a call for papers for a Conference on China's Overseas Finance and Aid, April 10 and 11, 2015.

Call for Papers

The SAIS China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) will hold its second public conference on April 10, 2015 with a private researchers' workshop on April 11, 2015, in Washington, DC at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The theme will be Researching China’s Overseas Finance and Aid: What, Why, How, Where and How Much? The goal will be a deeper, comparative understanding of the rise of China's state-supplied overseas finance, including grants, foreign aid loans, commercial loans, export credits and special investment funds. Papers will examine the motives and modalities, trends, sectors, and impacts using a variety of methods from quantitative analysis to case studies. 

We are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for this conference and workshop. Proposals can be submitted at any time but are due by February 1, 2015.  

Papers are welcome on the following topics, inter alia:

  • Recipient experiences and impact of Chinese finance and/or aid
  • The relationship between Chinese businesses and Chinese overseas loans 
  • Special lines of credit for companies in China's "going global" program
  • Comparisons between Chinese finance and that from other countries
  • Process tracing studies of successful and/or failed projects financed by China
  • Political economy of banking-project relationships 
  • Export credits and Chinese business promotion 
  • Triangular aid cooperation (North-South-North) case studies
  • BRICs Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  • China Africa Development Fund

The list is for suggestion only; other topics are also welcome. We especially welcome papers that are based on fieldwork and focus on case studies of specific projects. Applicants are welcome to discuss their proposed research with the conference organizers before making a proposal. Comparisons between Chinese and other financiers and donors would be particularly welcome, or comparisons between Chinese finance in Africa and in other regions (including China). 

Prospective authors should submit a two page proposal to SAIS-CARI@jhu.edu by February 1, 2015. Proposals should include a 500 word abstract of the paper, a brief description of the research project and methodology, and a short biography of the author. We may request other information. Researchers whose papers are accepted will be provided with two nights accommodation and meals during the conference. A limited amount of travel support will be available for selected researchers to attend the conference. Authors should indicate whether they need travel support in order to participate.

Application Deadline:       February 1, 2015
Notification:                      February 15, 2015
Deadline for Papers:        March 15, 2014
Conference:                     April 10-11, 2014

Papers can be in English, French, Portuguese or Chinese, but applications and presentations must be made in English.

For further information, please email: SAIS-CARI@jhu.edu