Young Africans consider China as the country wielding most influence on their continent, according to the “African Youth Survey 2022” commissioned by South Africa’s Ichikowitz Foundation last month.
The survey, which was conducted in 15 African countries, showed that 76 percent of young people view China’s influence as positive while 77 percent see China as the foreign country with most influence on their continent.
Ivor Ichikowitz, chairperson of the Ichikowitz Foundation, told Xinhua that the African youth have faith in the future of the relations between China and Africa.
Chinese products, ranging from clothes and plastic products to home appliances, can be found on the shelves of street stores as well as large shopping malls across Africa.
“I have many Chinese-made household appliances and a washing machine, they have helped me a lot,” says Kenyan actress Fridah Mure, adding that Chinese products are both affordable and made with high-quality standards.
In recent years, young Africans buyers have been attracted not only to Chinese-made necessities, but also to electronic products from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and OPPO, and to applications such as TikTok.
“China is the manufacturing center of the world. Most of the products we consume would come from China, both in terms of technology and other areas you know,” Martin Githinji, a 30-year-old Kenyan social media content creator, told Xinhua at the launch of the newest Tecno smartphones in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on June 20.
According to Githinji, Chinese manufacturers have won many consumers in his country as they offer a wide range of basic products at different prices.
Tecno is a brand of Chinese smartphone maker Transsion Holdings, which dominated the African smartphone market with a combined unit share of 47.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Chinese companies, like Tecno, have also transferred much of their technology to Kenya, said Anthony Brian Otieno, product manager of Tecno.
“We are now even able to assemble some of our devices here. “Since the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000, Chinese companies have built or upgraded more than 10,000 km of railways and nearly 100,000 km of highways across Africa, and created a total of over 4.5 million jobs, according to official data released last November.
These projects, including roads, ports, and digital connectivity, have boosted African countries’ development and created many jobs for the population, especially the young people.
The Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has just celebrated its fifth anniversary of safe operation. In addition to its speed, convenience and affordability, the SGR, which connects the country’s capital to its busiest Mombasa port, offers young people opportunities to develop their careers.
In particular, female locomotive drivers admitted that their lives had been transformed after securing employment with the SGR commuter service.
“I was able to take the speed railway in China and see how they operate the railway industry,” said Conciliar Owire, who became one of the first batch of female locomotive drivers after the SGR began operation in 2017.
Owire, who was promoted to be a senior superintendent of the Africa Star Railway Operation Company that runs the SGR, also told Xinhua that she hopes to implement what she saw in China to the railway network in her country.