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Africa can gain from dearer Chinese labour: World Bank – posted by

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By David Lewis

MALABO, July 4 (Reuters) – Rising labour costs will push over 80 million Chinese jobs in light manufacturing abroad over the next three to five years, with African nations well placed to lure many of them their way, the World Bank said.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for Africa, also hailed recent local efforts to bolster the continent’s farming sector after decades of neglect, but warned that the region remained overly exposed to food and fuel price shocks.

China’s economic success and hunger for resources have helped boost African growth, but Ezekwesili cited a World Bank estimate that rising Chinese wages would lead to manufacturing firms going elsewhere, taking with them 83-85 million jobs.

“They are going to be looking to move — Africa is going to be an important destination for that,” she told Reuters in an interview, calling on African countries to “step up their game” to improve the business environment to lure jobs their way.

“It will not only be China. At some point it will be a number of the emerging economies. They will move on and some of their own areas of previous advantage will need to move,” she said on the margins of an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea.

Ezekwesili said inflation across the continent was a concern, especially in food-importing nations like Ethiopia, where it has hit double digits, but said leaders appeared to be sticking to prudent fiscal policies.

As in 2008, African nations have been hit by rocketing prices for food and fuel, which have combined with political frustrations to ignite demonstrations in countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso and Uganda.

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