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Tag Archives: Labor

[PODCAST] Africa needs infrastructure, China wants to build it. So what’s the problem?

Africa faces a severe infrastructure crisis. Roads, ports, airports, hospitals and telecommunications are all needed to generate the economic growth necessary to support a population that is expected to double by 2050. But that kind of investment doesn’t come cheap. It’s estimated that over the next ten years Africa will need to spend around $100 billion a year — an unattainably high figure for ... Read More »

How Chinese Companies Deal with Labor Strikes and Unions in Kenya

The following article was written by Tang Yuchen, a youth fellow at China House Kenya in Nairobi “There were hundreds of thousands of people, like a black storm sweeping across the field. Tires were burned, stones were thrown everywhere as if it was a war movie”, Mr. Lu painfully recalled his first labor strike experience, “When someone threw stone at you, ... Read More »

African Female Workers in Chinese Companies in Kenya: Myths and Challenges

The following article was written by Chen Jin, a youth fellow at China House Kenya “Honestly, we don’t want any female workers here.” Ms. Zhou, manager of an upscale Chinese restaurant in Nairobi, put it without hesitation. Indeed, local women are under-represented in Chinese companies operating in Kenya. Over the past five years of Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese entrepreneurs are ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Who’d you rather work for in Kenya: a U.S. or Chinese company?

Chinese companies, generally, have a terrible reputation in Africa when it comes to labor relations. There are widely-held perceptions PRC firms are often abusive, insensitive and generally have a poor track record when dealing with African employees. Reports of human rights violations at Zambian mines, late pay for Kenyan railway workers and poor treatment of construction crews in Cameroon are just a few examples of the kinds of infractions that ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Chinese companies employ a lot more African workers than you think

Across Africa and throughout the West there is a widespread belief that a good portion of the Chinese construction workers building infrastructure across the continent are actually prisoners who have been forcibly enslaved to work in Africa. So the reason why Chinese companies allegedly do not hire locals, according to this legend, is because there is such an abundant supply ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Everything you ever wanted to know about the Chinese in Africa… but were too afraid to ask

The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it’s left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka’s open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian manufacturers, tens of thousands of Africans now work for Chinese companies and hundreds of thousands, even millions of Chinese now call Africa home. ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Why more Chinese companies in Africa are choosing to be good neighbors

Chinese companies around the world, particularly in Africa, have a well-earned reputation for being bad corporate citizens. There are countless stories of labor rights violations, disregard of environmental policies and lack of engagement with local communities among many other allegations. While all of these examples highlight a serious problem in China’s overseas corporate governance, it doesn’t tell the whole story. ... Read More »

[AUDIO] China/Africa vs. China/South America

China’s engagement in Africa is often seen by many observers in a vacuum without a broader understanding of how the relationship compares to Beijing’s strategy in other regions of the world. South America, in particular, provides an interesting contrast for how China’s engagement is both similar to what it’s doing in Africa but also highlights a number of fascinating distinctions. ... Read More »

[AUDIO] NO! China is NOT exporting convict labor to Africa!!!!

15 minutes in to almost any conversation about the Chinese in Africa and the question about Chinese labor invariably comes up. “The Chinese are exporting convicts to work on construction sites,” according to one of the pervasive myths, or, “Chinese companies don’t hire as many locals as Western firms do and the Chinese don’t want to assimilate into the local ... Read More »

[AUDIO] There’s a lot about China’s ties with Madagascar you probably don’t know

The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn’t small or isolated. In fact, the Chinese population on the island has grown five-fold over the past decade to an estimated 100,000 people, making it the third largest ... Read More »