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China’s Impact on African Employment: What Do We Know and Where are the Gaps?

Jobs Knowledge Platform (JKP) 2014 Regional Event
Johannesburg, South Africa
Thursday 20 & Friday 21 November 2014


 

Arising out of a partnership with the World Bank’s Jobs Knowledge Platform* (JKP), Prof Bhorat, Director of the DPRU, co-hosted a 2-day symposium with Prof. Albert Park, Director of the Institute for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS) at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

* The objective of the JKP is to contribute to the creation of multi-sector, multi-disciplinary solutions to the jobs challenges around the world, based on regionally-led research and empirical evidence.

Conference Themes

1. Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment: Trends and Emerging Themes in the China-Africa Context
2. China in Africa: Job Creation and Labour Market Challenges: the China-Africa Logic
3. Chinese and African Firms: Interactions
4. China in Africa: Sectoral Case Studies

Please find the symposium documents available here:

Context

Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) in Africa reached $16 billion in 2012, ranking China as Africa’s fourth largest individual country investor with investment rates growing faster than any of the continent’s other global trading partners. From an African labour-market perspective Chinese investments present opportunities and challenges that prompt a series of important research questions:
- Can China provide impetus for a labour-absorbing African manufacturing sector?
- As wages in China rise will Africa become a source of cheap labour for China?
- How do Chinese firms operate in relation to African country labour regulations?
- How does use of Chinese labour in Africa affect African workers?
- What are the differential impacts of State-owned and private-owned Chinese firms?
- What can African firms learn from Chinese firms (in the textile industry for example)?
- What are the direct and indirect employment impacts of Chinese investment?
- Are there any key policies that can promote mutual benefit in this regard?
- How do employment and other impacts differ across countries?

Cocktail Reception: Thursday 20 November 2014

To conclude Day 1, a reception offered symposium attendees the opportunity to network with government officials and policy makers, business leaders, academics and researchers, representatives from civil society, and the media.

The guest speaker was Bernard Cassar, former Executive Director of Protea Hotels (now retired), one of a select few to have visited every country on the African continent. A private sector leader in the hotel industry, he has 30 years of experience working for the Protea Hospitality Group; the largest hotel company in Africa (just recently acquired by Marriott International).

Mr Cassar has some extraordinary insights and impressions on doing business in Africa, and has agreed to share his unique perspectives and a few of his fascinating anecdotes with us. For details of his credentials and many accomplishments, please see his bio.

Pictured left, with Prof. Albert Park right.