This paper attempts to verify if a long-time existing “flying geese” paradigm (FGP) might be applied to elucidate the progress of Chinese firms’ skills transfer to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) nations considering foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. Notably, the pattern has been widely used to investigate the process of catching up on growth in East Asia both in theory and development policy. However, it has not been completely exploited to analyse skills transfer and employment creation in China-SSA cooperation. As labour cost has increased sharply recently in China, a small but significant migrating geese could, perhaps, be seen as the vanguard of the flying geese – migrating to SSA to take advantage of lower costs bases from which to operate. Therefore, the scientific task of this paper rests on answering two questions: Why do Chinese companies upsurge their manufacturing activities in SSA? How will these new Chinese migrating geese bridge the unemployment gap and skills shortage in SSA?
Against this backdrop, the author argues that these Chinese migrating geese seem to contribute partly in filling skills gap through their employment and skills practice by acting as a catalyst to upgrade the follower’s economy in the process of catching up a leader. However, the author suggests that African nations must look at the world of tomorrow with the eye of today by demanding from China skills and training that would propel: (1) Innovations; (2) Investment; (3) Technological change and (4) Economic diversification and competiveness, thereby promoting value-addition for the success of AFCFTA, job creation and growth. Above all, emphasis should also be placed on critical thinking, problem-solving, discovery, and experiential training.
Keywords: China, Employment, Firms, Flying geese model, Skills Transfer, Sub-Saharan Africa