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Chinese firms employ locals in Africa but…

KASUBA MULENGA, Beijing
CHINA encourages its companies operating in Africa to give more jobs to local communities but the firms find it difficult to do so because the local people ‘want to enjoy’ life at the expense of hard work, it was learnt here yesterday.
International Poverty Reduction Centre in China social policy specialist Xu Liping said the Chinese are hard-working people and knock off very late but that the mood among workers engaged by Chinese firms in Africa is different.
Dr Xu was speaking when she presented a paper on China’s Poverty Reduction and Assistance to Foreign Countries to participants of an ongoing seminar for information officers and journalists from English-speaking African countries.
“The Chinese Government supports companies when they go to operate in foreign countries and we encourage them to give more jobs to the local people, especially construction companies, but most local people want to enjoy life.
“Our companies want more time for work and they find it difficult with the local people who, can’t work for longer hours,” Dr Xu said.
She said her Government normally has control over the firms it owns but not the private enterprises operating in foreign countries just like in the case of all the companies operating in China.
“For private companies, we don’t have much control over them but we encourage them to be socially responsible, give more jobs to the local people and invest in communities they operate in by way of making donations. If they don’t do this, there is nothing we can do,” Dr Xu said.
And Dr Xu said China gives 51.80 percent of its foreign assistance to Africa because the continent has the highest levels of poverty in the world.
She said just like in China, her Government allocates substantial amounts of funds to the poor western part of the country to help balance up development levels.
Dr Xu said other than Africa having the highest levels of poverty, China gives more of its foreign aid to the continent because of the historical assistance African countries rendered during the New China establishment in 1949.
She said the New China formation also set up an equal relationship and sharing of experiences between China and Africa.
Dr Xu also said China will never attach conditions to its foreign aid but will allow recipient countries to decide how they would want to use the financial resources.
“When China receives foreign aid, we decide how to plan and use the money, and that is what we want African countries to also do,” she said.
Dr Xu said despite China being self-reliant in terms of poverty reduction programmes, it still receives aid from foreign countries and international organisations like the World Bank for activities like climate change but that it does not accept conditions which come with it.

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