Could Africa Take 85 Million Jobs from China

Labour cost in China continues to increase

The World Bank has said it’s in very early stage talks on cooperating with China to promote the transfer of low-value manufacturing jobs to Africa.

“Our forecast is that China will likely shed some 85 million manufacturing jobs in the coming years because of fast rising wages for unskilled workers, which could be an economic bonanza for Africa,” noted Mr. Moustapha Ndiaye the World Bank Uganda Country manager.

Ndiaye, in an email interview explained that they have launched new analytical and advisory work to help African countries seize the opportunity and facilitate the relocation of labor-intensive manufacturing industries to countries where wage differentials are large enough to ensure competitiveness in global production networks.

He added that the World Bank and China are also collaborating on infrastructure development in Africa, in line with the focus of the Bank’s new Africa Strategy to strengthen partnerships with non-traditional development actors.

Ndiaye believes that China’s growing trade and investment activity in Africa stands to bring major benefits to the continent’s developing economies like Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

“African countries have an opportunity, in particular, to benefit from access to China’s market through diversification of trade and closer integration with China’s investments.

“In addition to growing business ties, African countries are keen to learn from China’s successful development experience particularly in areas such as poverty reduction, trade and export development, infrastructure, foreign investment, agriculture, and health.

“The Bank has been supporting such knowledge exchange, working together with Chinese partners to bring senior African government officials to China to share experiences with their Chinese counterparts,” pointed out Ndiaye.

He stressed that the World Bank is helping to ensure that Chinese investments promote sustainable and inclusive growth, with a strong focus on local employment, backward linkages to local suppliers, technology transfer, capacity building of local technicians, and sustainable environmental and social impacts.