A majority of Kenyans now see China as their most beneficial partner. According to a poll done back in March by the global marketing and research firm Ipsos, 36 percent of respondents say China is the development partner that provides Kenya the greatest benefit. The United States, a longtime ally of Kenya is now in second place, trailing China by eight points with just 24 percent.
South Africa is in third place at 5 percent.
Ipsos Research Analyst Tom Wolf noted the findings show an upward trajectory in the approval of Kenya’s relations with China while approval for relations with the US appears to be on the decline.
He says the findings are especially interesting because China favored so well despite America’s bigger ‘footprint’ in Kenya.
“The U.S. has had relations with Kenya longer and has greater cultural proximity through the English language,” says Wolf.
Also interesting are the reasons why more Kenyans now prefer relations with China compared to the U.S. Wolf says respondents who prefer the United States cited the U.S. stance on anti-terrorism, anti-corruption and election results as reasons why. A whopping 95 percent of respondents who view China favorably cited economic benefit as the reasons they prefer to deal with China.
The survey results are just more examples of the blossoming relationship between China and African countries. China has been Africa’s biggest trading partner since 2009, and the Chinese have undertaken massive infrastructure investments in Africa, including Kenya’s Sh327 billion standard gauge railway.
The study conducted from 4 to 12 March sampled more than 2000 people throughout the country. The Paris-based firm IPSOS was set up in 1975. As a world mainstream survey institution, its study has strong reference value. During Kenyan 2013 and 2017 elections, IPSOS was recognized as one of the most authoritative, accurate and neutral polling organizations.