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Nov 15, 2019

Ethiopia stands out from other African countries for its ability to attract Chinese companies to open factories there. Through a combination of tax incentives, industrial parks, and its strategic location, Ethiopia is outpacing pretty much every other African country in luring light manufacturing companies to set up shop.

But in a country that still lacks a government-set minimum wage, there are widespread complaints that Chinese companies there pay too little and don't employ enough local workers.

While those perceptions may be widely-held, they're not supported by the data, according to Weiwei Chen, a PhD candidate at the University of London and a PhD Fellow at UNU-Wider, a think tank at United Nations University in Helsinki, Finland.

Weiwei is an expert in Chinese investment in Ethiopia and worked with her University of London colleague, Professor Carlos Oya on a 2019 research report that explored Chinese hiring practices in both Ethiopia and Angola. Their findings echoed earlier research that refuted the stereotype that Chinese companies prefer to bring in their own workers rather than to hire locally.

Weiwei joins Eric & Cobus to discuss her latest research on Chinese corporate engagement in Ethiopia and why she thinks there are still so many misperceptions about Chinese hiring practices.

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