|Chinese companies bring jobs to Africa|
by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- A major Chinese shoe manufacturer, Hua Jian, started a factory in Ethiopia just a few months ago, with a plan to invest 2 billion U.S. dollars and create 100,000 local jobs over the next decade.
"We want Ethiopian employees who came from poor backgrounds to use the company as a platform to fulfill their dreams and to help them out of poverty," said Helen Hai, vice president of Hua Jian Industrial Holdings, during a panel discussion here on Saturday at the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Many of the company's workers in
Hua Jian broke ground in 1984 with only a handful of workers and a few sewing machines. Over the past years, the company has become one of the largest shoemakers in
Meanwhile, economic ties between
Experts said Africa holds possibilities for entrepreneurs from
However, there are some hurdles to bring job growth to
Hinh T. Dinh, a leading economist at the World Bank, said while
Some experts say Africa has the potential to produce millions of productive jobs if the barriers can be removed and more foreign companies including those from
Asked about whether it could be difficult to recruit Chinese managers or skilled workers to work in
Some 300 veteran Chinese workers voluntarily flew to
At this stage, the Chinese trainers are needed to school Ethiopian workers, but the company plans to develop local talents, she said.
Over the past decades, many Chinese enterprises have invested noticeably in
Huawei, a Chinese leading global telecom solution provider, opened up the African market in 1996.
Over the past 16 years, Huawei has set up two regional departments, 20 representative offices, two research centers and six training centers with a total investment of 1.5 billion dollars on the continent.
It also employed more than 4,000 people, over 65 percent of whom are locals.
Touchroad, a Chinese company set up in Africa in 2002, has currently eight subsidiaries in
Hai said that contrary to the oft-heard narrative that African workers are inefficient, she found high efficiency levels among a group of Ethiopian trainees her company had sent to China to learn shoe-making skills, with some even exceeding Chinese workers' productivity.