China Moves Manufacturing Focus To Africa, U.S. Lags Behind

China's influence in Africa's economies comes after years of bridge-building, leaving the U.S. trying to catch up.
Posted at 8:18 PM, Aug 24, 2014

"Made in Ethiopia" might be the new "Made in China."

With the headline: "Ethiopia Becomes China's China," Bloomberg writes that the U.S.'s go-to for outsourced manufacturing is now shopping out work to African countries in search of the cheap labor that once made China so appealing.

The Daily Beast says the rising cost of labor and energy and tightening environmental restrictions are some of the reasons manufacturing in China is becoming more expensive. There are also fewer Chinese workers wanting factory jobs.

A variety of Chinese manufacturing companies have seen success establishing operations in Africa in recent years, and more companies are likely to follow in their footsteps.

Surprised to hear this? Well, China has been building ties in Africa for years. They started hosting the annual Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000 and, since then, it's built strong partnerships on the continent.

The Diplomatwrites, "China is generally accepted in Africa as an economic and political ally. ... By contrast to Western nations, many of who were former colonial powers, China is viewed by African political leaders as an equal, not an imperialist, partner."

The U.S. is also trying to get in the Africa game. President Obama hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit earlier this month. But despite numerous commitments of billions of dollars coming out of the conference, Al Jazeera has labeled America's involvement "too little, too late."

The whole trend has become a major bragging point for China's state-run outlets.

The Global Times wrote: "The whole world has to admit that China has been the biggest boost in shifting global attention back to Africa. Without China's rapidly growing cooperation with Africa, many Western countries would probably still be dismissing Africa's massive potential."

Rivalry aside, the U.S. and China remain each other's second-largest trading partner. So, who's in the top spot? For the U.S. that would be Canada — for China, it's the European Union.