China in Africa-The Next Factory of the World

HML Vancouver Sailing Farm – Li Liming

Is China helping to bring industrialization to Africa or colonizing?

 It is stated that most manufacturing companies are privately owned and not state owned. Reasons given for Chinese to move factories to Africa are rising labour costs in China and the ability to import technology. There is the belief that a lot of money can be made in Africa.

Will this help bring Africa out of poverty by creating jobs? Some of the complaints have been that these companies bring Chinese people to work in them and employ very few Africans, that the pay is too low, and the working conditions are not good.

The clothing industry in Africa employees 97% of the locals because very little education is needed and they will work for the modest pay.

‘There is a common misconception that all Chinese projects in Africa have the backing of Beijing. More often than not, Chinese SOEs are operating in Africa on purely for-profit ventures that don’t have the ambitions of their government in mind. However, it can be difficult to separate China’s commercial intentions in Africa from the strategic, as, in many cases, the two inevitably overlap. The internationalization of Chinese construction firms and IT companies as well as the building of infrastructure to better extract and export African resources, are key concerns for Beijing. So, while the infrastructure being built on the ground may not necessarily be orchestrated by Beijing it does ultimately play into China’s broader geo-economic interests. (excerpt from Forbes – Wade Shepard Contributor).’

‘Chinese investment gives rise to a tantalizing possibility: that Africa can industrialize in the coming generation. With a manufacturing-led transformation, Africa would be following in the footsteps of the United States in the nineteenth century, Japan in the early twentieth, and the Asian Tigers in the late twentieth. Many may consider this an old-fashioned way to develop, but as Sun argues, it’s the only one that’s proven to raise living standards across entire societies in a lasting way. And with every new Chinese factory boss setting up machinery and hiring African workers–and managers–that possibility becomes more real for Africa. (excerpt from Net Gallery)’

Although many Chinese entrepreneurs are honest in Africa, there are some who damage the environment with air and water pollution because it is not illegal in Africa and so they take advantage of this and fail to respect the environment. However, there are some that break the law importing contraband or bribing government officials, as an example. There are complaints in Africa about Chinese corruption.

‘One prominent Nigerian businessman said, “The Chinese? They taught us Nigerians something about corruption! They walk into a government office and throw down bricks of bills, saying “It’s just something to buy a Coke.” (excerpt for The Next Factory of the World by Irene Yuan Sun).’

I hope that the Chinese are truly and honestly caring about and helping Africa. It would be really disgraceful if they are not.

(The writer of the article is Canadian born, English name Dawn and Chinese name Li Liming. Dawn was married to a Chinese man whose family name is Li and lived in China for 8 years where she taught English.)

Editor: abbs

Posted by: Shuang

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