China’s engagement in African Industrialization

The Ethiopian Development Research Institute in collaboration with the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Washington DC organized a one-day workshop on “Chinese/Asian Investment and Structural Transformation in Africa: Technology Transfer, Linkages, and Learning” on 28 June, 2016 at the Capital Hotel, Addis Ababa.

   H.E. Dr. Arkebe delivers his keynote address

In his keynote address, Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia listed a number of challenges facing African manufacturing, described features of the Ethiopian manufacturing sector, gave some figures about China’s engagement in African manufacturing and explained a few government strategies to encourage Foreign Direct Investment. He highlighted the importance of identifying the key sectors driving a country’s economy and knowing whether they are balanced and sustainable. The Minister added that success in industrialization would not come without the development and transformation of the agriculture sector. 
Following, a panel discussion under the theme “Challenges of Industrialization and Asian Linkages” moderated by Dr Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University  and Dr. Margaret McMillan, Tufts University was held. Participants of the discussion included Dr. Arkebe Oqubay; Col. Joseph Leon Simbakalia, Director General, Export Processing Zone Authority, Tanzania; Professor Samuel Wangwe, Diama Associates; Mr. Donath R. Olomi, CEO, Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development, Dar es Salaam. In the discussion, the panelists reflected on Dr. Arkebe’s keynote address, discussed on the roles Chinese manufacturing firms are currently playing in Africa and what future roles they should be playing for Africa’s industrialization.

Left to right: Dr. Deborah Brautigam, H.E. Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Gol. Joseph Leon Simbakalia, Professor Samuel Wangwe, Mr. Donath R. Olomi, Dr. Margaret McMillan

Chaired by Col. Simbakalia, a second panel themed “Chinese Industrial Cooperation, Industrial Zones, and FOCAC” brought together Dr. Ian Taylor, who presented a paper titled “Chinese Industrial Cooperation and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation: What Should We Expect” and Dr. Alebel Bayrau, EDRI, with a study on “Industrial Parks: Lessons from Chinese SEZs”.

“Chinese Manufacturing Investment and Linkages in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana” took the slot for a third panel chaired by Ms. Treasure Maphanga, Director of the Department of Trade and Industry, African Union. In this panel, Dr. Brautigam presented a paper on “Manufacturing FDI from Asia: Which Chinese ‘Geese’ are Coming to Africa?” and Dr. Xiaoyang addressed “Can Chinese Investment Support African Industrialization through Value Chains? Evidence from the Cotton Sector”

Dr. Deborah Brautigam

Ato Wondu Legesse, Director General, Leather Industry Development institute chaired the fourth panel themed “Asian Linkages and African Skills in African Manufacturing: Evidence from Ethiopia”, a study presented by Dr. McMillan and Dr. Girum Abebe, EDRI.
Finally, concluding remarks were given by Dr. Brautigam and Dr. McMillan who thanked the organizing team and participants and briefed the next step of the project.
Co-sponsors of the workshop include “Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries”, a program funded jointly by the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Department for International Development, and the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), a jointly funded initiative launched in 2011 by DFID and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).