ICS Monographs

China's Infrastructure Development in Africa: An Examination of Projects in Tanzania and Kenya

The study titled 'China's Infrastructure Development in Africa: An Examination of Projects in Tanzania and Kenya' was undertaken as part of the 'China in the World' research programme at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS). 

This monograph is the result of the first project focusing on Africa under the vertical. It sought to examine China's changing role in in the infrastructure space in Africa, particularly Tanzania and Kenya. By utilising a case study method, the attempt was to gain an in-depth understanding of six projects in East Africa. The project was lead by Dr. Veda Vaidyanathan, researcher at ICS, New Delhi. She was accompanied by Ms. Tong Wu, China Consultant at the Sino-Africa Centre of Excellence, a research centre under Botho Emerging Markets Group as well as Dr. Jumanne Gomera, Policy analyst in the Prime Minister's Office of the United Republic of Tanzania. Ms Sunaina Bose and Mr. Uday Khanapurkar worked as Research Assistants on the study and contributed to the chapters. This multicultural team of scholars conducted month long fieldwork in Mumbai, Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Zanzibar. ICS partnered with the Sino-Africa Centre of Excellence (SACE) in Kenya and REPOA in Tanzania on this project.

The aim of this monograph is to contribute to the larger conversation surrounding Chinese engagement in the African continent from a uniquely Indian perspective. This is significant, considering that the amount of fieldwork-based research on this area emanating from non-western academic and research institutes is not substantial. 

This monograph also attempts to provide a stakeholder perspective to the ongoing global discourse on China's growing presence in Africa. The case studies identified range from Chinese-built fibre optic cables, ports and airports to gas pipelines and involve several Chinese actors and a multitude of Tanzanian, Kenyan and other stakeholders. Closely studying these projects not only brings to the fore the drivers, strategies and outlook of Chinese companies but also highlights the opportunities presented and challenges faced by African governments in these interactions. Furthermore, it also identifies the unique strengths that are enabling Chinese companies to dominate the infrastructure sector in these countries and also contextualises issues such as the infrastructure fueled rising debt and changing perceptions of China in Africa.

The findings from this study were disseminated in a workshop hosted in New Delhi in April 2019 after which the monograph underwent a comprehensive peer-review process prior to publication.

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