The Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA) published in February 2014 a major study titled “Africans’ Perception of Chinese Business in Africa: A Survey.” Pretoria-based EthicsSA is a non-profit, public-benefit organization that opened its doors in 2000. The survey involved an on-line questionnaire from 1,056 Africans in 15 countries that have a large presence of Chinese companies.
The perceptions were surprisingly negative. In terms of the reputation of Chinese business in Africa, 43.3% is negative and 35.4% is positive. In respect to the quality of Chinese products and services, 55.9% is negative and 22.7% positive. Regarding environmental responsibility of Chinese companies in Africa, 53.9% is negative and only 11.1% is positive. In terms of economic responsibility of Chinese companies in Africa, 40.1% is negative and 28.3% positive. Concerning corporate social responsibility, 45.7% is negative and 21% positive. Perceptions of employment practices of Chinese companies in Africa are 46% negative and 19.1% positive.
The survey concluded that Africans are happy with Chinese investment in the sense that it contributes to the development of their countries. However, Africans are concerned about the economic, workplace, social and environmental impact of Chinese investment.