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University at Albany

China's Economic Expansion to Africa

Date 日期: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Time 时间: 4:30p.m.—6:00p.m.
Location 地点: Business Building 221 (BB221)
Presenter: Tom Narins, PhD
*Snacks and light refreshment will be served at the event.

Chinese economic expansion into Africa has been highly visible – both in the popular and academic press. This visibility has often taken the form of Chinese-led construction projects. Such projects are changing sub-Saharan Africa’s landscape, labor strategies and development outcomes. This talk first reviews the history and geography of Chinese-African labor contact in Chinese-led construction projects in sub-Saharan African countries from the colonial ‘labor export’ era, to Chairman Mao’s socialist transfer of expert and technology, to the market-oriented labor migration in Chinese overseas construction companies. It aims to reveal the evolving nature of labor strategies as a manifestation of macro political and economic relations between China and Africa. The talk argues then, that even though certain elements of labor contact remain consistent throughout the three periods, labor issues have become increasingly complicated as multiple actors come into play on the Africa continent. In addition, the talk investigates the opportunities and challenges for various international- and national-level agents to regulate Chinese construction companies. The talk concludes with reflections on current structural and political contexts in most sub-Saharan African countries that are constraining Chinese-African labor relations.  

[About the Presenter] 

Tom Narins (Ph.D. UCLA) is an incoming Assistant Professor of Geography in the University at Albany’s Department of Geography and Planning. He is fascinated by the ways in which distinct economic and political frameworks shape the success of Chinese economic actors’ trade and investment plans in developing world regions, particularly in Latin America and Africa.

Before UCLA, Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in government focusing on US-China relations and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on international business. He has held a private sector position at a joint-venture telecommunications company where he worked on projects in both China and Latin America. It is in this role where he witnessed the very real and growing connections between Chinese economic actors and those in the developing world.

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