Most Tanzanians perceive China as having more influence on the country than Western countries and even international organisations like the UN and the World Bank, this is according to an Afrobarometer research report.
Prepared by Repoa Policy Research for Development, the results show that to Tanzanians, China’s influence surpasses that of South Africa, India and even influential global heavy weights like the UK and USA.
The Afrobarometer research results were made public yesterday in Dar es Salaam and were obtained after a survey of a sample group of 2,386 adult Tanzanians from all regions of the country conducted between August 26 and September 9, 2014.
The results show that a majority (71 per cent ) of Tanzanians say China has a lot of influence on Tanzania’s economy while 17 per cent believe that China’s influence is a little/none while 13 per cent do not know.
Asked whether China’s assistance meets Tanzania’s needs, 51 per cent of respondents said either the assistance is good or very good job, 14 per cent said it is neither good nor bad, 18 said it was either bad or very bad while one percent said China does not give development assistance to the country and 15 per cent said they did not know.
The results also show that at least 35 per cent of respondents said they perceived China as a model for development, UK came second with 30 per cent.
Others (with percentages in brackets) are South Africa (10) and India (4).
Further, three per cent of respondents said Tanzania has to follow its own model and one per cent chose other countries. One percent chose none of the mentioned countries while 11 percent said they did not know.
Presenting the findings titled: ‘Chinese engagement in Tanzania, is it considered positive or negative?’ Stephen Mwombela a researcher with Repoa, explained that 40 per cent of Tanzanians said China is the most economically influential country or entity to Tanzania.
Other countries (with their percentage in bracket) include USA (31), South Africa (6), United Kingdom (5), India (1) and international organizations (1). Yet others got one or less percent and were not mentioned.
“One per cent chose none of the countries mentioned while 12 per cent said they did not know,’ he said. As to factors that contributed most to China’s positive image, 31 per cent said it is Chinese business investments in Tanzania , 22 per cent said it is the cost of their products and 16 per cent said China’s positive image is the result of their investment in infrastructure.
As to China’s negative image, Tanzanians cited factor like the quality of Chinese products (37 per cent) Chinese economic activities including jobs and business (20), extraction of resources from Africa (7).
Commenting on the findings, Charles Sanga, former Tanzania Ambassador in China, said the findings were not surprising as relationships between Tanzania and China were more than 50 years old.
He said both countries once had the same ideology of socialism and had state to state cooperation which was changed to that of people to people some years ago.
“Chinese people are preferred because they do not interfere with the internal matters of any nation,” he noted.
“Tanzania should always bear in mind that the country will be developed by Tanzanians themselves…other people can merely chip in,” he said.
Repoa Executive Director, Professor Samuel Wangwe said for any country to develop, it must have a model and as such Tanzania needs to adapt and at the same time develop its own model that works solely for the country.
“Every country goes to another with its own interests,” he cautioned.
“Tanzania needs to know what it wants from other countries and ensure that it creates a win-win situation for itself,” he urged.
Afrobarometer is an African-led, non-partisan survey research project that measures citizens’ attitude on democracy and governance, the economy, civil society and other topics.
Currently it is in the sixth round (2014/15) and operates in 30 African countries working on the same topic.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN