Chinese company Huajian, which exports shoes for Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Naturalizer and Clarkes, among others, plans a multimillion-dollar expansion in Ethiopia, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, in yet another sign that the U.S. is behind the 8-ball when it comes to investing and developing in Africa.
Huajian already employs 1,750 people in Ethiopia, and the expansion will add several hundred more workers.
Ethiopia is one of the richer countries in Africa, with a gross domestic product of a little more than $103 billion; it ranked 73rd in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. However, the economy is based mostly on agriculture and services and unemployment is high.
When she visited Africa in August 2012, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned against African leaders partnering with China, saying, without directly accusing China, that such a partnership would end with the exploitation of African workers and resources. Nonetheless, trading between Africa and China reached more than $200 billion last year.