Chinese Investments in Africa: Opportunity or Threat for Workers?

This report is against this background that the China-Africa Summit of November 2006 and China’s renewed interest in Africa have to be understood. China is essentially interested in natural resources and raw materials and offers investments in roads, railways and infrastructure. The deals concluded during the China-Africa summit are worth US$ 1,9 billion and include an aluminium plant in Egypt; a highway in Nigeria; a rural telephone network in Ghana; a copper project in Zambia and a ferrochrome smelter in South Africa.

The proposal to undertake a study on Chinese investments in Africa from a labour perspective emerged during a workshop of trade union leaders and union educators in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2006. The study was then implemented by the African Labour Research Network (ALRN), which brings together African trade union-based research organisations. Country-case studies were carried out in Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi. This booklet summarises the main findings of the study and we hope that it will assist African workers and their trade unions to confront the challenges associated with Chinese investments and trade on the continent.

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