While U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is running her campaign on the premise of “equal pay for equal work,” her longtime aide Cheryl D. Mills is busy promoting a 23-cents-per-hour wage in Ghana, according to the Daily Caller. In hiring for her multi-million-dollar international development firm, BlackIvy Group LLC, Mills is pushing for a reduction in the minimum wage in order to encourage more investors to venture into Ghana’s textile and apparel industry.
Her proposal, which critics say promotes “slave wages,” contradicts Clinton’s campaign manifesto, which seeks to increase the minimum wage in the United States to $15 an hour.
The proposal was presented by BlackIvy’s Managing Director, Jean-Louis Warnholz, to a group of investors at the Origin Africa Textile Expo held in August 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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In the pitch, Mills’ company states that Ghana is an ideal entry point to the West African market, citing a stable political environment with strong investor protection and a highly competitive and well-educated labor force.
“Minimum wage of $0.23 per hour compares favorably to China ($1.63/hr), Bangladesh ($0.68/hr) and Vietnam ($0.40/hr)”, the proposal reads.
Cheap Labor Overseas
In the U.S. presidential campaign, the issue of outsourcing cheap labor overseas has taken center stage, with Clinton accusing the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, of importing products from China and other foreign countries.
According to the Daily Caller, textile jobs in the United States have plummeted by almost two thirds mainly due to competition from low-wage workers overseas.
The United States Agency for International Development economic research reveals that close to 1 million jobs have been lost in the American textile industry, especially in the South.
In her proposal, Mills cites full exemption on all duties and levies on imports for production and exports of processed goods as some of the incentives offered to investors by the Ghanaian government.
While most traditional forms of slavery may have been suppressed in many parts of Africa, other forms of slavery have emerged, including cheap labor, child labor, human trafficking, and the enslavement of child soldiers.
Many African workers continue to suffer at the hands of their employers, most of whom are foreigners.
African governments are therefore urged to put in place policies that will hold foreign companies accountable for local labor laws, human rights, and environmental abuses.