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China's Interest and Activity in Africa's Construction and Infrastructure Sectors

DFID/China Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch

China’s involvement in Africa’s construction and infrastructure sectors has proved most effective in building relations with African governments - increasing influence and expanding access to natural resources on the continent. Chinese state-owned and private companies are making strategic inroads into the construction and infrastructure sectors in many African economies at the expense of European and South African companies. Naturally, the traditional actors are alarmed by this phenomenon with concerns that China’s politically determined business models do little to build local capacity.

The Centre for Chinese Studies conducted a four-country research study that evaluated the market entry
models of Chinese construction firms in Angola, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia. Particular attention
was paid to their methods of engagement and impact on the local construction industries. Chinese activity
in the four case studies was examined and compared across five areas: 1) tendering, 2) access to capital,
3) labour, 4) procurement, and 5) quality of workmanship. The business environment, in terms of
governmental bilateral relations, aid, trade and investment profiles between China and the countries
concerned were also taken into consideration.

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Category: Quality Infrastructure

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