Coronavirus: United Kingdom, facing worst recession on record, sees GDP drop 20.4% in Q2

The UK has seen its economy, hit by the coronavirus crisis, suffer a "record" contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, and is officially facing its worst recession on record, agency figures show National Statistics (ONS), published Wednesday 12 August. 
Economists consider that a country enters a technical recession when it accumulates two consecutive quarters of contraction in its economy. According to the ONS, most of the contraction, which began to be felt in March, occurred in April, an entire month of containment and almost total cessation of activity in the country, which saw production collapsed by 20%.

With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops. This is the biggest contraction in the UK economy since the ONS began these quarterly statistics in 1955, he said…

Study: how African internet users perceive China and its actions on the continent

35 ° North and Connected Africa present the results of a study on the perception by African internet users of China and its actions in Africa during the pandemic. A study which gives an idea on Chinese soft power on the continent and which should interest the Chinese authorities in the first place.

how African internet users perceive China and its actions on the continent

China's presence and action in Africa have always been at the center of the interests - sometimes of the concerns - of the States, geopoliticians, economists, etc. This time, two communication specialists are looking into the subject, but from a rather original angle which could serve as a basis for further analysis. Indeed, 35 ° North, a communication strategy consulting agency dedicated to the African continent, and Connected Africas, laboratory for analyzing viral phenomena implemented on social networks in Africa, have just revealed the results of a study on the perception by African internet users of China and its actions on the continent during the current pandemic.

118,084 tweets and 6,582 Facebook posts analyzed

"How are African Internet users reacting to Chinese actions on their continent? Are they the only ones debating it? What are the different features of China vis-à-vis Africans online? " These are the main questions answered by this study, the authors based on the analysis of no less than 118,084 tweets and 6,582 Facebook posts published between May 6 and June 3, 2020 to decipher the main themes, hashtags and controversies raised. on the Africa-China relationship during the health crisis. "There is an unprecedented mobilization on the subject with 2 billion on Twitter and 10 billion impressions on Facebook," summarize the authors in a statement.




They also reveal that Chinese solidarity actions during the health crisis have often been praised on social networks, especially by public authorities. "One of the philanthropic acts that has generated the most reactions in the media and on social networks is the international aid plan with an important focus on Africa of the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma. With #OneWorldOneFight, the billionaire Chinese and its Foundation are at the heart of South-South solidarity against the virus. Nevertheless, the Chinese initiatives also arouse distrust on the part of Internet users, considering that these aids are not disinterested in a context of struggle for influence of the great powers on the continent, "reports the press release of 35 ° North and Connected Africa.

Technical subjects that put the flea to the ear ...

Globally, exchanges between African Internet users on the theme of China during the latter are grouped around hashtags like #ChinaIsNotOurProblem or #ChinaAfricaImpact, reports the study. “While strong and lasting partnerships already exist between African states and China, it is interesting to analyze social networks as a reflection of African public opinions on China's action in Africa, explains Romain Grandjean, partner at 35 ° North. We note that this subject mobilizes on themes with high stakes, but that the debate remains open without being Manichean. With the exception of Jack Ma and his foundation who succeeded in imposing their storytelling in this crisis, Chinese companies are still not very active on social networks, not giving themselves the means to participate in the African public debate.

“Echoing #BlackLivesMatter, African internet users have also been scandalized by discriminatory acts against black communities in China. Carried by the hashtags #BlacksInChina and #BlackChina, used alone more than 8,300 times, these denunciations have become more widespread with the global context of violence against blacks, "add the authors of the study.

"Our maps of the most influential account actors shed light on the great multiplicity of actors who took part in discussions relating to relations between China and Africa: anonymous accounts of African internet users, from Pan-African activists to the President Donald Trump, the profiles of the actors who have taken up this subject are truly multifaceted. We also analyze uplifting engagement and impression rates on technical subjects such as infrastructure or economic sovereignty, "said Jérémy Cauden, co-founder of Connected Africa.




On the question of the humanitarian aid brought by China on the continent during these last months "raises positive comments, but also doubts", aanlysent the authors of the study. "The Chinese media, such as" China Xinhua News "or" People's Daily China ", are very active in relaying the country's actions in Africa. They generate very high engagement rates, without it being possible to comprehensively locate the source of interactions. Many Chinese netizens, however, welcome these initiatives in Africa, in particular concerning the fight against Covid-19, extolling Chinese pride in 'WHO or even the USA, and the role that China must play on the world stage' , sums up the study which tried to analyze part of Chinese soft power in Africa.