China-UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for Poverty Reduction

Jing Gu is leading a team of researchers in this DfID funded project which will analyse the changing trade and investment relations between the UK and China on the one hand and South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria on the other, with a view to exploring scope for synergy and cooperation.

The last decade has been characterised by an increased dynamism in the trade of developing countries, including China. These countries have seen their export shares rise steadily since the mid 2000’s.

China’s share of world trade has almost tripled between 1997 and 2010 while that of the UK has halved. Although largely due to statistical effects, with UK exports increasing, it highlights shifts that are taking place in the world economy and in particular the rise of the South. In this context South Africa and Kenya have performed well. South Africa has seen its share of global exports rise and Kenya has maintained its share which implies that both have seen their exports grow much faster than the UK.

This research will assess the impact of these relations giving specific consideration to Chinese and UK policies and addressing a range of economic and development outcomes in Africa. It particularly focuses on how best to provide effective support to growth, structural transformation and poverty reduction, examining possible synergies between UK and Chinese policies. It will evaluate the changing trade and investment relationship between China and the UK as well as that between China, Kenya and South Africa, examining the impact of these relationships and of policies undertaken by China and the UK on economic and developmental outcomes.

The project seeks to influence both the academic research and policy communities in Africa, China, UK and internationally, and will produce a number of important outputs including reports, working papers and policy briefs.

We have an international team of 19 researchers from various organisations led by Dr Jing Gu, IDS. The team includes Peter Holmes, Michael Gasiorek Andy McKay and Alan Winters (University of Sussex), Jim Rollo (Interanalysis) and Maximiliano Mendez Parra (ITEAS), Trudi Hartzenburg and Gerhard Erasmus (Tralac) and Samson Odhiambo and CH Onyango (CUTS). The research team will also work with CAITEC, a think tank of MOFCOM, with whom close collaboration is anticipated.

The analysis will focus on three core areas

  1. Overview of existing relations and their possible impact on developmental outcomes
  2. Identification of key challenges
  3. The potential for synergy and cooperation


Recent work


BRICS Summit a turning point for China’s influence on global development

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa recently convened for their 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. IDS Fellow and Centre for Rising Powers and Global Deveopment Director, Dr Jing Gu, said this Summit could represent at turning point for China's influence on global development.

5 September 2017