Senegal is hoping to woo Chinese companies into shifting low-end manufacturing to the West African nation. Laura Frykberg reports.
Senegal has its sights set on China. Building factories like these - just outside the capital To attract business from the Asian nation. Industry experts say investing in Senegal is a no brainer. Not only is it a stable democracy, it's also well placed geographically. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALY NGOUILLE NDIAYE, SENEGAL MINES AND INDUSTRY MINISTER, SAYING: "The capital Dakar is seven hours away from the U.S., almost five hours from Europe, and less than five hours from South America, not to mention the opportunity Dakar offers for inland Africa, and Dakar is within ECOWAS, a market of more than 320 million people." It's not the only African country vying for the millions of manufacturing jobs China's expected to shed. Due to its slowing domestic economy, rising costs and stiffer foreign competition Ethiopia already has a thriving shoe and garment-making sector While Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are chasing Chinese textiles investment.. And are launching or planning new industrial zones. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MOMATH BA, APROSI DIRECTOR, SAYING: "We know that today, there is an increase in the workforce, and even the Chinese, just as the Europeans did, are today emigrating, going elsewhere. That is why Africa, which is an industry virgin, so to speak, is favourable to host Chinese industries." Senegal's Atlantic Ocean port makes it a natural candidate for export-based industry. But there could be some hurdles before that happens. It ranks a low 147 on the World Bank's ease of doing business index - for problems with electricity access and bureaucracy.