The Impact of China

In 2006 my close collaborator (Mike Morris) and I organised a meeting with the research directors of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi. We sought to acquaint them with the emerging results of a globally-networked research programme at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University which was examining the impact of China on the developing world. Mike and I were both South Africans – the receiving research directors were both Nigerians and their initial response was that the destructive elephant in Africa’s room was not China, but South Africa! It did not take long for the AERC to recognise the historical significance of China’s rise as one of the global hegemonic economies.

This led to an extensive multi-year research and policy-building programme undertaken with the African Economic Research Consortium between 2005 and 2016. It developed a taxonomy for analysing the ‘impact’ of China (direct/indirect and complementary/competitive impacts) and led to a major research programme with extensive training of policy makers and researchers across East, Central and West Africa. One of the key outcomes was the recognition that framing the enquiry as the ‘impact of China’ abstracted from political and economic agency within Africa. African stakeholders were deeply involved and often were the primary drivers in the growing links between China and Africa.

During this period of research (when I was working at the Open University) I was also involved in a large collaborative programme on the structural break in the commodities-manufactures terms of trade and how African economies could use the opportunity of rising commodity prices to build backward and forward linkages to the domestic economy.

In the list of publications below I highlight what I consider to be my significant contributions to this agenda.


‘The Impact of the Asian Drivers on the Developing World’, Introduction to World Development Special Issue on Asian Drivers and their Impact on Developing Countries, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2008 (with D. Messner).

‘Chinese FDI in SSA: Engaging with Large Dragons’, European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 24, No. 1. , pp. 551-569, 2009. (with M. Morris).

‘The Asian Drivers and SSA: Is There a Future for Export-Oriented African Industrialisation?’, The World Economy, Vol. 32, No. 11, 2009 (with M. Morris).

‘China as a Final Market: The Gabon Timber and Thai Cassava Value Chains’, World Development, Vol. 39, No. 7, pp. 1177-1190, 2011 (with A. Terheggen and J. P. Tijaja.

The Impact of China on Global Commodity Prices: The Global reshaping of the Commodities Sector, London: Routledge, 2012 (with M.Z. Farooki). (Chinese translation, 2015).

‘What Does the Rise of China Do for Industrialisation in Sub-Saharan Africa?, Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 35, No. 115, pp. 7-22, 2008.

‘Do the Asian Drivers Undermine Export-Oriented Industrialisation in SSA’, World Development Special Issue on Asian Drivers and their Impact on Developing Countries, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2008 (with M. Morris).

‘What Contribution Can China Make to Inclusive Growth in Sub-Sahara Development and Growth?’, Development and Change, 46(6), pp. 1-22, 2013.

‘The Impact of China on Low and Middle Income Countries’ Export Prices in Industrial-Country Markets’, World Development, Vol. 40, No. 8, pp. 1483–1496, 2012. (with X. Fu, and J. Zhang (2012).

‘Global manufactures prices, 1988-2006: how do China’s exports compare?’ in Xiaolan Fu (ed.), China’s Role in Global Economic Recovery, Abingdon: Routledge, 2012. (with X. Fu, X. and D. Kale).

‘Asian Drivers, Commodities Prices and the Terms of Trade’, in M. Nissanke and G. Mavrotas (eds.), Commodities, Governance and Economic Development under Globalization, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

‘China, Commodities and the Terms of Trade’ in D. Greenaway, C. Milner and Shujie Yao (Eds.), China and the World Economy: Consequences and Challenges, London: Palgrave, 2010.

‘What are the implications for global value chains when the market shifts from the north to the south?’, International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 4, Nos. 1/2/3, 2011, pp 13-38, 2011 (with M. Z. Farooki).

‘What Happens when the Market Shifts to China? The Gabon Timber and the Thai Cassava Value Chains’, in O. Cattaneo, G. Gereffi and C. Staritz (eds.), Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Develoment Perspective, Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2010. (with A.Terheggen and J. P. Tijaja)

‘Global Value Chains, the Crisis, and the Shift in Markets from the North to the South’, in in O. Cattaneo, G. Gereffi and C. Staritz (eds.), Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective, Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2010. (with M. Z. Farooki)

‘The impact of the Asian Drivers on innovation and development strategies: lesson from Sub-Saharan Africa experience’, International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 65-81, 2007.

‘Chinese Overseas FDI in Sub-Saharan Africa’, in I. Alon, M. Fetscherin and P. Gugler (eds.), Chinese International Investments, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. (with M. Morris).

‘Impacts and challenges of a growing relationship between China and sub-Saharan Africa’ in V. Padayachee (ed.), The Political Economy of Africa, Abingdon: Routledge, 2010. (with D. McCormick and M. Morris).

‘The Asian Drivers and SSA: MFA Quota Removal and the Portents for African Industrialisation’ in D. McCormick, J. A. Kuzilwa and T. Gebre-Egeziabher (eds.), Industrialising  Africa in the Era of Globalisation: Challenges to Clothing and Footwear, Nairobi: University of Nairobi Press, 2009  (with M. Morris).

‘How can Sub-Saharan Africa Turn the China-India Threat into an Opportunity’, in M. Kremer, P. van Lieshout and R. Went (eds.), Doing Good or Doing Better: Development Policies in a Globalizing World, The Hague: Amsterdam University Press, 2009.

‘Winners and losers: China’s trade threats and opportunities for Africa’, in L. Wild and D. Mepham (eds.), The New Sinosphere: China in Africa, London: Institute of Public Policy Research, 2006.

The Rise of China and India: Challenge or Opportunities for Development?’, The House Magazine, February 11th, London: House of Commons Magazine, p. 28, 2008.