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It is wrong to demonise Chinese labour practices in Africa (Financial Times)

July 3, 2019

From the article:

Chinese companies investing in Africa get a bad rap. Beyond their alleged role of ensnaring recipient countries in debt, when it comes to their employment record a common accusation is that they employ mainly Chinese workers, depriving locals of potential jobs. When they do hire locally, critics say, they pay badly and offer little training. 

That is certainly the view of many Europeans and Americans, including US officials who have painted a grim picture of Chinese companies’ rapacious practices. It is also a view echoed in Africa itself. Many a labourer in Nairobi or executive in Accra turns up their nose at the mention of Chinese business. 

“This work supports the notion that there’s very little that is exceptional about Chinese firms,” says Irene Yuan Sun, author of The Next Factory of the World, a book about Chinese investment in Africa. “If I had my way, we’d talk about firms by sector, not by nationality.” 


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