China has become one of the most popular countries for African students seeking to study abroad, according to a report from Quartz Financial.
The figures show the number of African students studying in China has grown 26 times over the last 15 years – rising from 2,000 to 50,000, between 2003 to 2015.
Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, meanwhile, shows that the U.S. and UK host around 40,000 African students each year, with the number over 95,000 in 2014,making China the second most popular country for study after France.
In recent years, the Chinese government has been keen to support human resource management and education development, especially in African countries, and this is seen as one of the main reasons for the increasing number of African students attending Chinese Universities. Since 2006, China has also run a scholarship scheme for African students to support them both at home and while abroad in China.
The increased number of African students is regarded as an extension of China's soft power. It's hoped the experience of these African students in China will translate into a willingness to co-operate with the country, and it will also have a positive effect on China's future internal and external policies.