Education and Skills Development in China-Africa Cooperation


Education, skills, and the development of an African workforce are at a critical moment. While it is recognized that Chinese firms hire local people, the focus of the debate is more on the position and opportunities for training and advancement. As such, the paper tries to answer the following questions. Does China really contribute to skills development in Africa? Does China employment, education, and skills transfer pattern contribute to Africa’s own structural transformation and benefit African workforce? In attempting to answer these questions, this paper first lays out the current magnitude of demand for skills in Africa and the priorities for education and skills transfer that can successfully address Africa’s skills shortage. Significantly, this will enable researchers and non-researchers to understand the diversity of Chinese firms’ skills transfer patterns and the reasons behind these patterns. In order to present a comprehensive and precise picture as well as understand the context for China and Africa education and skills transfer development, the paper draws from various data collected from diverse sources, including government statistics, firm reports, second-hand academic literature, local and international news media, official government reports, and research studies. The paper suggests that the assessment of skills transfer pattern should not only consider employees’ and employers’ direct interests, but also in the short run, skills transfer should focus on offering short, practical courses to secondary and higher education graduates involving primarily on-the-job training. In the long run, there is a need to change the way employees and students are trained, including curriculum reforms that favor science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Emphasis should also be placed on critical thinking, problem-solving, discovery, and experiential training.


Africa, China, education, firms, skills development, training, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)


Michael Mitchell Omoruyi EHIZUELEN, Executive Director of Centre for Nigerian Studies, Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University.

The paper was published on the Volume 13 Issue 4 of Front. Educ. China in Jan.2019.






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