Chinese are Good. African naiveté would be soon added to the Guiness Book of Records.
Every year the Chinese government gives thousands of all expenses covered, plus stipends, traveling scholarship to Africans officials, experts, civil servants, military officers, students to visit China, where they attend seminars, visit high tech companies, are exposed to the best of China standing in the world.
However, to be selected to attend the trips, the applicants are required to fill surveys, questionnaire, or present case studies, which responses often might give away key information about their country keys issues, the dynamics in their administration, market, or field of expertise, but also possible paths of solutions currently explored. China builds a huge database of data and metadata with those, giving it unique understanding of our continent.
The database is completed with more passive data collection and interviews during the trips.
Beyond the volunteered information, China is building an unprecedented database of key contacts in almost all areas (decision makers, technicians, experts, academicians, activists, military officers, etc) in the targeted countries.
I was once contacted for a scholarship as blogger/journalist. But, I’ve declined.
In fact, China is not doing anything new. Great Britain, France, United States had followed that recipe to domesticate the African elites and civil society for decades. This an old playbook of expansionist powers.
Alumni networks, freemanson lodges, secret societies, free scholarships had proved to be very good model for controlling Africans.
Pretty soon, Chinese secret societies might emerge here. Confucius centers are mushrooming over the continent, and are the equivalent of French cultural centers, Alliance française, the American cultural centers, etc.
In the meantime, I’d ask the Guiness Book of Records to add the category of ‘the most naive people in the universe’ and nominate ‘the Africans’ as the all time all categories winners.