Chapter 6: The next great industrial transmigration: relocating China’s factories to sub-Saharan Africa, flying-geese style?
China has emerged as the most proactive partner for Africa’s growth by providing economic aid, investing in infrastructure and resource development, expanding trade, and most recently, stepping up local manufacturing. China’s growing industrial base in sub-Saharan Africa (which the World Bank would like to see further expanded as an industrial kick-starter) is now a subject of international attention. China has begun to graduate from, and relocate both inside and outside the country, low-wage manufacturing as it strives to move up the ladder of economic development. Will Chinese manufacturing investments in Africa rise on so massive a scale and in so expeditious a manner as East Asia has experienced, triggering a string of growth spurts from one catching-up economy to another, a phenomenon the World Bank called ‘East Asian Miracle’? The current debate on the issue often misses or does not sufficiently consider China-side factors. Although China’s recently retooled strategy has started to make some impact on sub-Saharan Africa, the present scope of, and the future prospects for, China’s industrial transplantation are still limited and constrained. All in all, a hoped-for African Miracle appears still a long way off.
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