China’s Private Sector Investment and the Investment Climate in Africa

Great controversy surrounds Chinese economic activity in Africa. However, until now, the role of Chinese entrepreneurs, especially in private enterprises has been overlooked. The China-Africa project, funded by the Centre for the Future State and in collaboration with leading Chinese institutions, examines the role of Chinese private enterprises in Africa.

The scale of this research is unprecedented. Researchers from IDS and the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) have had direct access to private Chinese companies working in Africa, including 100 in-depth interviews with Chinese firms and business associations and officials in both China and Africa.

Based upon extensive fieldwork interviews in China and Africa, the research has had a considerable impact in a variety of ways. The most immediate impact has been in the generation of original, empirically-based knowledge about China’s private enterprises in Africa and new understanding of the development implications for Africa. This has impacted upon policy-makers, business, civil society, media, and academic communities.

This major IDS initiative is breaking new ground and exciting international interest from the World Bank and United Nations as well as the BBC, Guardian, and People’s Daily through their media coverage and journal articles. This innovative research has had a magnifier effect insofar as it has contributed to emerging themes within IDS.

Recognising the important linkage between research and teaching, this research has also carried significant gains for postgraduate curriculum development at IDS. This includes a taught course dedicated to China and International Development, lectures contributing to other taught programmes and doctoral research.

Related resources

For further details please see the Centre for the Future State website.

Key contacts

Image of Jing Gu

Jing Gu

Research Fellow, Centre Director


+44 (0)1273 915692

Project details

start date
1 March 2007
end date
30 December 2009


About this project

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre


Image of Jing Gu

Jing Gu

Research Fellow, Centre Director

Image of John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Professorial Fellow

Recent work

Journal Article

The Impact of Africa on China

"If African countries are to maximise the benefit of engagement with China, it is important to ask the question "How can Africa — as a whole and as individual countries — change China's policy stance to Africa so that more benefit accrues to Africa from the relationship?" Here, the critical...

2 January 2006