The political benefits of Chinese projects in Africa can be short lived.

We think there’s a pattern here: inflated expectations, followed by political blame. The rapid expansion of Chinese investment has raised the profile of China in Africa, and Afrobarometer results suggest that citizens take a mostly sanguine approach to China’s presence and appreciate China’s economic dynamism. This, along with the touting of Chinese investment by African leaders, means that citizens living in proximity to announced Chinese investments have high hopes of accessing jobs. Widespread benefits never fully materialize, however, as Chinese firms seek local acceptance initially but focus on maximizing and extracting profits.

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