When it was published in the Harvard Business Review, many China-Africa experts and professors reached out to me. A top U.S. MBA program made it a required reading in a class. I had postulated that Africa’s developmental strategy which is largely structured to mirror China will possibly fail. Why? What China did about 40 years ago to rise cannot work today because those comparative advantages it had over U.S. and Western Europe had been disintermediated.
As robots and AI advance, cheap factory jobs will be “eaten” right in Europe and U.S. meaning that none would have to be outsourced. And if that is the case, these domains will not be looking for new sites in Africa (as wages rise in China, our main expectation to displace China) to build factories. Sure, companies will always spread factories to stay closer to customers but that is a different incentive altogether.
Coronavirus has added a new factor: Africa must endogenously invent a new developmental model.
In this video, I explain that Harvard piece and what we must do.