More Kenyans believe that China constitutes the biggest threat to the country’s economic and political development than the United States of America, a survey shows.
The survey by Ipsos Synovate released on Wednesday revealed that 26 per cent of Kenyans see the Asian country as a threat to the development of Kenya, more than double the perception towards the US which ranks at 12 per cent up.
According to the survey conducted between July 25 and August 2, the unfavourable perception of China comes in the shape of threats posed by its cheap goods, fear of fostering corruption and leading to job losses.
A total of 38 per cent of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses. This is only 11 percent in the relationship between Kenya and USA.
Another 25 per cent think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18 percent perception of the US.
More Kenyans also feel that China will foster corruption in the country compared to US with 8 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
Perception of Kenyans towards China has taken a nosedive since March this year dropping from 34 per cent at that time while US’s has been on the rise since then from 26 percent to the current 35 per cent.
The perception is, however, skewed politically with more National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters thinking that Kenya’s bilateral relationship with China is a bigger threat at 33 percent compared to 10 percent with USA.
For Jubilee supporters, only 23 per cent hold similar views on Kenya’s relationship with China but more on US compared to Nasa supporters at 16 percent.
On the flipside, approval for China comes because of its infrastructure projects in the country at 86 per cent compared to only 38 per cent for US. For US, its loan and grants to Kenya wins it an approval of 49 per cent compared to a paltry 11 per cent for China.
This is even as 35 per cent Kenyans say that USA is more important for Kenya to have relations with compared to only 25 per cent for China.
However, more Kenyans think that the country’s relationship with US will see the world superpower undermine the Kenyan culture, her elections and encourage terrorism at 14, 12 and 9 per cent respectively. This the Chinese are seen to have no effect on with 3, 0 and 2 per cent perception in that order.
More Nasa supporters at 49 per cent compared to Jubilee supporters’ 28 percent see bilateral relations with the US as critical.
However, more Jubilee supporters at 30 per cent to 19 per cent for their Nasa counterparts approve of relationship with China.
A total of 2, 016 Kenyans were interviewed in 46 counties using face to face interview at the household level with a margin of +/-2.16 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.
The survey also came before four important events in the country’s foreign relation development.
It was before Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma held talks with US counterparts in Washington DC on August 22 ahead President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit five days later.
Five days later President Kenyatta held talks with US President Donald Trump and also met US business leaders.
President Kenyatta then welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May three days later in Kenya before flying to China the next day for a major African-Chinese summit on economic partnership.