In 2016 the pan-African research institute Afrobarometer published its first study on what Africans think of their governments’ engagement with China. Fast track to 2019/20, Afrobarometer conducted another wave of surveys, were data from 18 countries was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary findings show that majority of Africans still prefer the US over China as a development model, that China’s influence is still largely considered as positive for Africa, and that Africans who are aware of Chinese loans feel that their countries have borrowed too much. This is important because – as both African and Chinese leaders reflect on their engagement – these findings should allow them to build a forward-looking relationship that better reflects African citizens’ opinions and needs. Across the 18 countries surveyed, 32% preferred the American development model, while 23% preferred the Chinese model.