Africans More Upbeat Than Rest of World About Foreign Investment in the Continent

The recent wave of foreign investment in Africa—much of it from China—has started to transform the employment situation and infrastructure in parts of the continent. According to The Economist, trade between China and Africa surpassed $120 billion in 2010, and it is claimed that China has given more loans to Africa over the past two years than the World Bank. Despite the controversy surrounding China’s new-found influence in the continent—with concern as to whether the benefits of the investment stay in Africa or are all repatriated to China—GlobeScan’s recent public attitudes poll for BBC World Service suggests that Africans themselves are much more relaxed about it than much of the rest of the world.
A narrow majority of those we polled across 22 countries at the end of last year saw foreign investment in Africa as a very or somewhat good thing for the continent, with around one in four holding the opposite view. However, the results indicate that some of the world’s major donor countries have misgivings. A majority of Germans (56%) and significant minorities of French (44%), Spaniards (40%), Britons and Americans (both 32%) think it is a bad thing.
In contrast, the four African countries in our sample all have very large majorities feeling that the foreign investment is a positive thing, with support highest in Nigeria (85%), but also very high in Kenya (75%), Ghana (72%), and Egypt (71%).
Finding from a February 2012 GlobeScan/BBC Poll
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.