The Impact of Chinese Investment on Skill Development and Technology Transfer in Zambia and Malawi’s Cotton Sector

Image: Flickr, Lawrie Cate
Image: Flickr, Lawrie Cate

Cotton plays an important role in both the local economy and export industry for a number of African countries. Meanwhile, although China is a valuable cotton producer it also imports large quantities of African cotton.

Focusing on one of the first companies to enter the African cotton market, this study analyzes China-Africa Cotton’s (CAC) operations in Zambia to investigate the impact on the technological development of the local cotton sector. As a new player in the arena, CAC has business models and a management style that differ from those of previous foreign investors in the region. In addition to detailed and in-depth analysis of CAC’s unique qualities, the study also uses Cargill’s operations in Zambia as a comparison. How does the new Chinese firm, CAC, compare to previous investors in training its employees and farmers? Does the Chinese approach work effectively in an African context? Has Chinese investment had an impact on skills development and technology transfer in Africa’s cotton sector?

1 Jan 2019