China’s Labor-Intensive Factories Transplantation: New Opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa Catch-Up
Economic development is a process of continuous industrial and technological upgrading in which any country, regardless of its level of development, can succeed if it develops industries that are consistent with its comparative advantage, determine by its endowment structure. China’s growing industrial base in sub-Saharan Africa (which the World Bank likes to see further expanded so as to ignite local industrialization) is now a subject of international attention. Having itself been a "follower goose," China has begun to graduate from, and relocate both inside and outside the country, low-wage manufacturing as it strives to move up the ladder of economic development and becoming a "leading dragon." Will Chinese manufacturing investments in Africa rise on such massive a scale and in such expeditious a manner as East Asia has experienced, triggering a string of growth spurts from one catching-up economy to another, a phenomenon the World Bank called “East Asian Miracle”? This study explores the potential of China's factory transplantation as a decisive kick-starter for sub-Sahara Africa's industrialization in terms of East Asian experiences and the “flying-geese” theory of comparative advantage relaying as an overall analytical framework. It concluded that although China’s recently retooled strategy has started to make some impact on SSA, the present scope of, and the future prospects for, China’s industrial transplantation are still limited and constrained, owing to both China-and Africa-side factors.
Keywords- China, FDI, Flying-geese model, Labour-intensive, Sub-Saharan Africa