As China’s interest and influence grows in Africa it will cast a sharp light
on Africa China relations and perceptions on the continent. It is no
wonder that a video from 2020 which resurfaced recently has caused
quite a stir among African and Chinese communities. The video shows
young African children saying, “I am a black monster”.
The video is truly distasteful and Chinese authorities have committed to
getting to the bottom of the creation of the video. The video undoubtedly
left a lot with a bitter taste in their mouth and left lingering questions
around whether this was an isolated incident or rather an indication of a
persistent bias of the Chinese people.
There are two things we need to look at in order to answer the last
question, firstly What is China’s official policy regarding Africa and what
are ordinary people on the continent saying about Africa China relation.
Let’s start by looking at Africa and China’s shared historical struggle.
In the fight for national liberation and independence, China and African
countries supported each other and expanded mutual political trust in
the process. In pursuing economic development and national
rejuvenation, both sides have been helping the other and increasing the
scope of cooperation. On major international and regional issues, they
have coordinated their positions and jointly safeguarded international
equality and justice.
Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the principles of China’s Africa
policy – sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the
greater good and shared interests, charting the course for China’s
cooperation with Africa, and providing the fundamental guidelines.
The principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the
principles of pursuing the greater good and shared interests epitomize
China’s policy to Africa. They represent the essence of Chinese culture
and embody the historical traditions of China-Africa friendship – a role
model for international cooperation with Africa. They are the overarching
guiding principles for China in building up solidarity and cooperation with
developing countries, including those in Africa.
China is ready to reinforce mutual support with African countries on
issues involving core interests and major concerns of either or both.
China will continue its firm support for Africa’s position on international
and regional affairs, and uphold the common interests of developing
countries. China will continue its support for African countries’
efforts to resolve their continent’s issues in their own way, and
make a greater contribution to peace and security in Africa. China
will continue its firm support for African countries’ efforts to explore
development paths suited to their national conditions. It also stands
ready to increase exchanges on governance experience with African
countries and boost common development and prosperity, by drawing
on wisdom from the time-honored civilizations and experience of both
Particularly in recent years, China has scaled up its assistance and
cooperation with Africa. Whenever it makes a commitment, China as
always honoured it to the letter. It will continue to expand cooperation in
investment and financing with Africa and strengthen mutually beneficial
cooperation in agricultural and manufacturing sectors. By so doing,
China will help African countries translate their strengths in resources
into advantages in development and realize independent and
“Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.” It also
corresponds to the fundamental interests of African countries and the
basic norms of international relations. It is a hallmark of China-Africa
solidarity and cooperation and can serve as a useful reference for
international cooperation with Africa.
China’s approach involves upholding four principles:
– Upholding sincerity, friendship and equality. The Chinese people have
worked together with African people in pursuit of a shared future. China
respects, appreciates and supports Africa.
– Upholding shared interests and the greater good, with greater
emphasis on the latter. In its cooperation with Africa, China applies the
principles of giving more and taking less, giving before taking, and giving
without asking for something in return. It welcomes African countries
aboard the express train of China’s development with open arms.
– Upholding a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical
cooperation with efficiency. In its cooperation with Africa, China gives
top priority to the interests and wellbeing of the peoples of China and
Africa, and works to their benefit. China is committed to fully honoring
the promises it has made to its African friends.
– Upholding openness and inclusiveness. China stands ready to work
with other international partners to support Africa in pursuing peace and
development. It welcomes and supports all initiatives that further Africa’s
The above suggests a China and Africa which are intentional about
building mutually beneficial opportunities for growth and prosperity. The
relations seems not only to be steeped in a shared history but also the
appreciation of a common future.
The second thing we needed to look at regarding China/Africa relations,
there was a recent study done and published which interviewed young
people across the continent and came to the following conclusions
The survey was conducted by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation and
found that 76% of 4,507 young Africans across 15 countries named
China as a foreign power with a positive influence on their lives,
compared with 72% for the US. In 2020, when the inaugural study of 18-
to-24-year-olds was conducted, 83% of respondents saw the US’s
influence as positive while the figure for China was 79%.
Positive sentiment toward China was strongest in Rwanda, Malawi and
Nigeria. The survey, which involves lengthy face-to-face interviews, will
be run annually. About 42% of the world’s youth are expected to be
African by 2030.
The survey also showed that young Africans have lost faith in their own
governments, and are increasingly concerned about climate change and
discrimination against women and ethnic minorities.
Key Findings of the survey:
32% of young Africans said they were excited and optimistic about
the future of their countries compared with 43% in the 2020
survey. Angolans, Zambians and Malawians were the most
pessimistic of their countries while Nigerians had the dimmest view
of the continent’s future.
39% said they wouldn’t take a Covid-19 vaccine even if it was
The top priority for those surveyed was job creation.
72% of youth said they are concerned about climate change, citing
worries ranging from droughts to increased pollution.
More than half of those surveyed said they planned to emigrate in
the next few years.
Ichikowitz founded the foundation and also heads Paramount Group
Ltd., a South Africa-based defense and aerospace business.
With Africa having the most developing countries and China being the
biggest developing country in the world. That in and of itself shows us
the necessity for us as continent to embrace China as a global ally and
hopefully bolster each other’s efforts to achieve common prosperity and