Author: Oluwaseun Tella.
While there is a rich body of scholarly literature on China’s soft power, it has tended to focus on how China’s soft power currencies complement its hard-power resources. Little is known about how China wields its soft power currencies in strategic regions, as the literature has focused on a particular region, particularly Asia and Africa. Thus, this study examines China’s geopolitical influence, drawing attention to its soft power currencies in Africa and the Middle East. It employs both primary and secondary data. The primary data were personal in-depth interviews and internet polls. Interviews were conducted with experts, particularly in the field of international relations. Using purposive sampling, these experts were drawn from the United States, China, South Africa and Nigeria. Low-cadre bureaucrats were also interviewed. The study argues that China’s soft power in Africa and the Middle East is a double-edged sword. While some appreciate China’s presence in these regions, others are either ambivalent or have negative perceptions of this Asian powerhouse. The study concludes that China still requires huge investment in its soft power in order to win the hearts and minds of the majority of the citizens in these regions.