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Here’s why fellow African youth see China as making positive contribution to the continent

In Rwanda, Malawi and Nigeria there is a 90% agreement among its youth that China has a great impact on their country. Photo: STEVE HILTON-BARBER

In Rwanda, Malawi and Nigeria there is a 90% agreement among its youth that China has a great impact on their country. Photo: STEVE HILTON-BARBER

Published Jun 15, 2022

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Cape Town - The African Youth Survey (AYS) 2022, which was conducted in 19 African countries, revealed that 76% of young people view China’s influence as positive while the United States’ influential force has declined.

The survey, which was commissioned by South Africa’s Ichikowitz Foundation and published on Monday, showed that African youth views China as the most influential foreign country on their continent, with a positive contribution to infrastructural development and skills training.

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In Rwanda, Malawi, and Nigeria, there is a 90% agreement among its youth that China has a great impact on their country, while in the remaining countries, more than half (54%) came to the same conclusion.

“This is an endorsement of the Chinese foreign policy which has increased investment in the African continent,” Ichikowitz Foundation Chairperson Ivor Ichikowitz told Xinhua on Tuesday.

“If you listen to the rhetoric by the US and the EU who have been saying China is not good for Africa's growth and development, but the youth are saying the opposite,” he said.

Ichikowitz added that the African youth have faith in the future of the relations between Africa and China and believed the relationship could become “superpowers” in the future.

Furthermore, the Business Insider reported that nearly 9,000 face-to-face interviews with 18 to 25-year-olds took place in compiling the 2022 survey, which is the second in a series of reports.

While the 2022 AYS surveyed youth from countries such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Sudan and Mozambique, the initial report in 2020 looked at nations such as Ethiopia, South Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

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According to the report, these are some of the top findings:

Afro-optimism: Optimism has declined, but it is a dip rather than a slide as African youth remain optimistic about their personal future and look ahead into an African century. Just under one-in-three youth think that the continent is headed in the right direction, and less than three-in-ten feel that their country is on the right track.

Employment: Job opportunities are a top concern, and African youth are looking to their governments to do more. Youth across the continent say that creating new, well-paying jobs is the top priority for the continent to move forward. However, more than two-thirds are not satisfied with how their government is currently creating jobs and addressing unemployment. Additionally, three-quarters of African youth believe that owning land is essential for their financial wellbeing.

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Connectivity and Media: Universal wi-fi is considered a fundamental right, and smartphone use is high, but that is not yet translating to widespread and affordable internet access. Nearly two-thirds of African youth find the price of mobile data coverage to be high, and just one-in-eight can afford data coverage at all times.

In terms of news outlets, BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera are seen as the most trustworthy international sources of news, while Facebook is considered the least trustworthy, with just one-in-eight finding it very trustworthy.

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