CARI-Ethiopian Development Research Institute Workshop in Addis Ababa, June 27-28, 2016
Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), CARI has continued to investigate the potential of Chinese engagement in Africa to enhance structural transformation through direct training, technology dissemination, backward and forward linkages, subcontracting, and personnel transfers. After conducting desk studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS to map Chinese investment in a dozen African countries, CARI held a research workshop with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 27, 2016 and organized a public event on technology transfer and Chinese manufacturing investment in Africa the following day, June 28.
The goal of the workshop was to select African countries in which to carry out field scoping studies, focusing on those that offer the best possibilities for examples of local diffusion of skills and technology from China through manufacturing or agribusiness subcontracting. The workshop was attended by CARI Director Deborah Brautigam, Research Manager Janet Eom, Pre-doctoral Fellow Ying Xia, and Affiliated Researchers Margaret McMillan, Ian Taylor, Girum Abebe, and Tang Xiaoyang and a small group of invited researchers. The following day, the public event brought together researchers, government officials, and local stakeholders for a day of presentations and discussion on productive approaches to Chinese manufacturing investment in African countries.
The public event featured Arkebe Oqubay, Minister and Special Advisor to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, who gave a keynote address, "Africa's Industrialization and Economic Transformation and Chinese Investment: A Policymaker's Perspective." In addition, public panels focused on the challenges of industrialization and Asian linkages in Africa; Chinese industrial zones and the role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in facilitating investment; and case studies of Chinese manufacturing investment and linkages in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana. Discussion centered on the importance of strong local government support, the buildup of infrastructure near industrial zones, and the potential of East Africa to become a major industrial hub.
Following the Addis workshop, CARI researchers conducted a field scoping study on Chinese manufacturing investment in Kenya, a case study of skills transfer in Chinese investment in southern Africa’s cotton value chain, and another case study of technology transfer in a Chinese textile factory in Rwanda. CARI also plans to carry out technology transfer surveys in two African countries by negotiating the addition of our module on technology transfer to ongoing industrial survey efforts. CARI will aim to provide African governments like Ethiopia with information that can help inform choices about the kinds of policies they choose to pursue vis-a-vis foreign investors, including those from China.
CARI appreciates the support for our workshop, public event, and fieldwork through generous funding from two programs:
- Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) jointly funded by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
- DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), a jointly-funded initiative launched in 2011 by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).