TRENDS Bulletin Analyzes Africa's Perceptions of Major Powers and Development Models
TRENDS Research and Advisory released the fourth issue of
the World Public Opinion Bulletin entitled "Africa's Perceptions of Major
Powers and Development Models". The analysis showed that African
perceptions of major powers as models of development are diverse and
multifaceted. It explained that different individuals and communities within
Africa have contradictory views, influenced by their own experiences and the specific
interactions they have had with these advanced powers.
The insights were expressed in the bulletin prepared by
the Barometer Department at TRENDS Center. It included a questionnaire and
field surveys on Africa's perceptions of major powers and development models.
The analysis was based on the use of data of the eighth round in 2022, which
was conducted in 34 countries in Africa, through the African Barometer program.
The results showed divergent African perceptions of the
development models pursued by major powers, especially with regard to the
United States and China. The study indicated that this disparity can be
explained in the context of various factors, some historical and other direct
factors associated with economic interests and political affiliation. Both major
powers have their own models and concepts that Africans tend to adopt, some of
which can be classified as follows:
about The United States:
It was found thatmany African
countries have historical relations with the United States, due to several
factors related to human rights movements and educational exchanges. These
factors led to the formation of these perceptions, and the creation of
political and cultural ties between the two sides. Moreover, aid and
development assistance played an important role in shaping these perceptions,
although there have been African criticism of U.S. intervention in some cases.
However, this does not undermine the level of Africa's appreciation of U.S.
The analysis showed that the
main factor, which enhanced the positive African perception of China as an
economic model of development, is related to China’s proactive economic engagement.
Chinahas significantly bolstered its presence in
Africa through bilateral trade, investment and infrastructure projects. This created
a sense of appreciation among some Africans for China's economic participation.
Africans regard China’s economic engagement as useful in providing capital investment,
which created jobs and developed the infrastructure. Africans appreciate China's
adoption of a policy of non-interference in internal affairs, which is
consistent with the African perception of sovereignty. Africans acknowledge that
China's engagement often comes without political strings. Furthermore, China promotes
itself as a partner with the countries of the South.
Perceptions of Russia’s Engagement
The analysis found that Russiaalso has
historical interactions with some African countries, especially during the era
of decolonization, where some Africans appreciated Russia's support for their
struggle for independence. They view this historical role positively. Education
is also an important factor in shaping Africans' perceptions of Russia. In
fact, Russia has been an educational destination for African students seeking
The analysis found that 33% of Africans consider the
United States as the best model for their countries' future development, while
22% think that China could be the best model for their countries' economic development.
However, 12% believe that the Republic of South Africa is the best prospective model
for development for their countries. As for the issue of colonialism in African
countries, 11% and 13% of Africans consider the former colonial powers as the
best model for development in their own countries.
The study indicated that 60% of Africans believe that the United States has
economic and political impacts on them, compared to 13% who believe that such impact
was in negative terms. Also, 45% of Africans believe that former colonial powers
have a positive impact on Africa, both economically and politically, while about
25%, believe that those powers had a negative impact.
The analysis prepared by the Barometer Department at TRENDS Center reviewed
the colonial background of certain African countries. The study showed that there
is a a divergence of views on the part of citizens of African countries, which were
subjected to French colonialism. This is regarding the positive or negative impact
of France on their countries in terms of economic and political development.
However, citizens of African countries that were subjected to British
colonialism expressed positive attitudes towards British impact on their
countries, both economically and politically.
As for Russia's economic and political influence,
thepoll indicated that 28% of Africans believe
that Russia has a positive economic and political impact on Africa, compared to
13% who believe that it has a negative impact.
What about the language preference for most Africans?
The survey found that themajority of
Africans, about 69% of them, consider English as the preferred language that
young people aspire to learn, followed by French (14%) and Arabic (5%).