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The South China Morning Post reports that China holds a substantial lead over the EU concerning perceptions about decision-making and timely completion of projects in Africa, according to a survey about the activities of Europe and China on the African Continent. China beats European countries in building projects such as roads, power dams, railways + bridges while Europe dominates the abstract like soft power exchanges, high standards and climate change consciousness, according to a study released Tuesday by the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), a Kenya-based think tank. The survey’s findings are based on responses in the last quarter of 2021 from more than 1,000 policymakers from 25 African countries who monitor the tight competition between the European Union and China in Africa.

China scores much higher than the EU on what the survey respondents consider Africa’s priority needs – physical infrastructure, speedy results and non-interference in internal political affairs. Survey participants rate China highly for quick decision-making, with an approval of 75.2%; approval for the European Union was at 55.8%. “With organised military precision, China is known for speed and reliability,” researchers noted.

The study found, “China appears to be on the way to closing the gap and overtaking the EU on most of the aspects of the partnership with Africa, the most evident being supporting private sector growth, intra-Africa trade and investments, economic cooperation and long-term strategic cooperation…Chinese state-owned companies have significantly changed the terrain of the continent with rails, roads, bridges, ports, dams, and skyscrapers,”.

Stefan Schott, the Naumann Foundation’s East Africa project director, said “To put it simply: A road completed in record time by the Chinese is a value in the perception of Africans and more concrete than abstract European projects to promote democracy, human rights or sustainability.”

#436 ON 25 JULY 2022

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