Chinese Investment in Africa – Where Do the Jobs Go?

By Ariel Gandolfo

Chinese official foreign direct investment (OFDI) stock in Africa reached $21.73 billion in 2012, and China’s Premier Li Keqiang stated that total investment will reach $100 billion by 2020. Over 2,000 Chinese companies have invested in sectors such as infrastructure, natural resource extraction, finance, and power generation.

Where the money went: Chinese investment in Africa from 200 to 2011. Source: World Resources Institue

Where the money went: Chinese investment in Africa from 200 to 2011. Source: World Resources Institute

In some cases, Chinese companies are involved in multi-million dollar contracts with multilateral finance institutions. The recent $300 million partnership between state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) and the International Finance Corporation to provide affordable homes in African cities is just one example. While few African companies possess the technical skills to build on such a massive scale, African workers can at least take advantage of the employment opportunities that these construction projects generate, right? Continue reading

ADB President Reflects on Lessons from Asia’s Development

By Samantha Prior

Asia has been a key driver of global economic growth in the 21st century, and will remain a key theatre for development in the coming decades as one of the fastest developing regions in the world. Economies in the region grew at a rate of 6.1% in 2013 and 2014, and growth is forecasted to increase to 6.2% for 2015. However, poverty levels remain troubling, with nearly one-third of the population of Asia living on less than $1.51 per day in 2010.

ADB Headquarters in Manila

ADB Headquarters in Manila. Photo available under the public domain.

The President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao, recently put out his “Eight Key Actions for Economic Development in Asia”. Citing Asia’s “remarkable progress in development and poverty reduction,” Nakao seeks to explain why some Asian countries have developed more rapidly than others. He outlined eight key action areas that lead to success:  infrastructure, human capital, macro-economy, investment and trade, governance, equality, vision for the future, and security and stability.  While all eight categories of action are crucial for development, four of Nakao’s points should be highlighted: Continue reading

Leocadia Zak

“What we are hearing from host countries is that we want trade not aid. We want to work with the private sector.” –Leocadia Zak, Director of USTDA (CSIS, June 30, 2014)

Director Zak at CSIS' Chevron Forum on June 30

Director Zak at CSIS’ Chevron Forum on Global Infrastructure Development

Who is she?

Leocadia I. Zak was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) on March 10, 2010.

As Director of USTDA, Ms. Zak focuses on expanding U.S. jobs and the markets for U.S. goods and services abroad by supporting U.S. businesses in emerging markets.  Some of these targeted approaches include inviting foreign officials to the U.S. for reverse trade missions and offering best-practice training programs.

Ms. Zak has substantial experience in the public and private sector.  Prior to joining USTDA, she was a partner in the Washington and Boston offices of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C. and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law, Moring Center for Banking and Financial Law Studies, and at the Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Zak received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. Continue reading

Laos, US Legacy, and Unexploded Ordnance

By Elena Rosenblum

For decades, Laos’ economic development and relationship with the United States has been strained by unexploded ordnance (UXO), a legacy of the Vietnam War.

Roughly 30 percent of the two million tons of bombs that the United States dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War failed to detonate on impact. To date, only about one percent of affected land has been cleared and over twenty-thousand people have been killed or injured by UXO since 1975.

However, in January 2014, Congress allocated $12 million in funding towards UXO assistance programs in Laos as part of the omnibus spending bill, four times the average annual UXO budget from 1995-2013. This creates an opportunity for the United States to address a key flashpoint in U.S.-Lao relations while making strategic development inroads with the largest single benefactor of Chinese investment in the region.

Since the end of the bombing in 1975, the United States has provided $74 million in UXO assistance in Laos, with forty-percent allocated in the last five years.

Laos receives an annual $4 billion from China in mining, hydropower, and agricultural investments.

UXO has hampered transportation infrastructure development in Laos

UXO has hampered transportation infrastructure development in Laos

Continue reading