Local Skill Development from China’s Engagement in Africa: Comparative Evidence from the Construction Sector in Ghana

Image: Flickr, Axel Bührmann
Image: Flickr, Axel Bührmann

Over the past decade, Chinese enterprises have made significant progress in developing new business ventures in Africa. As of late 2016, the stock of China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa amounted to around US$40 billion, up from less than US$1 billion in 2004.

China is now Africa’s biggest economic partner, with no other country matching the depth and breadth of China’s engagement on the continent. China’s engagement in Africa, however, has also been controversial. The media, pundits, and policymakers often question whether the presence of Chinese enterprises in Africa contributes to knowledge transfer to host countries, and skill development of local employees. Some claim that by relying on the import of a large number of foreign workers from China, Chinese enterprises contribute little to local skill development and knowledge transfer in Africa.

1 Jan 2019