This brief sets in context and summarises findings from the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP) funded research project ‘Industrial Development, Construction and Employment in Africa’. The project examined the employment and labour market effects of Chinese and non-Chinese firms investing in manufacturing and building infrastructure in Angola and Ethiopia.
- Despite long-standing criticism, Chinese firms and construction projects in Africa are found to provide substantial contributions to employment creation, and to have high localisation rates.
- More than the origin of the job-providing firms, labour outcomes (such as wages and benefits, labour relations and opportunities for skills development) are influenced by the characteristics of workers, firms, the sector or production network, and the host country.
- Despite the presence of domestic and foreign firms offering jobs, the creation of an industrial workforce is a long and uneven process that does not take place automatically and requires concerted efforts.