A banking expert on Tuesday urged African nations to partner with China in order to boost their manufacturing sectors.

Jeremy Stevens, an economist at the Standard Bank Group, told a trade forum in Nairobi that the reality is that China has emerged as the best manufacturing hub in the world.

“Africa should therefore partner with China because it has the skill and expertise that Africa lacks in order to build its manufacturing sector,” Stevens said during the Chinese Economic Forum that was jointly organized by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Stanbic Bank Kenya.

He urged Africa to seize the current opportunity given that Beijing is keen to continue to strengthen ties with Africa and be a supportive partner.

Stevens noted that China is likely to continue its investment in the manufacturing sector across Africa.

“Already around 20 percent of Chinese investment into Africa is in manufacturing. Chinese firms are creating the most jobs in Africa than any other large commercial partner. The scope for more Chinese partnership is obvious: it has been most successful in linking to global supply chains,” he added.

The economist added that the key to attracting more investments is to ensure Africa has a strong infrastructure foundation in place.

He noted that China was able to lure foreign investments in the manufacturing sector by ensuring it has world-class infrastructure including road, rail and electricity network.

Stevens noted that China is currently battling with rising manufacturing costs due to increasing labor costs, among others.

“These factors combined have made Chinese firms to seek to offshore some of their manufacturing activities,” he said.

The economist said that African countries that have a real opportunity to attract Chinese manufacturers are basically in East African region where most of the continent’s manufacturing growth is already taking place.

He added that Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia are some of the nations that have already began to attract Chinese investment in their industrial sectors.

He noted that once a country establishes a good track record with Chinese firms, it tends to lure even more investments from the Asian giant. Enditem


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