Journal article

From Chinese dam building in Africa to the Belt and Road Initiative: Assembling infrastructure projects and their linkages

X Han, M Webber

Political Geography | Elsevier | Published : 2020


This paper aims to build a political economic geography of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We draw on assemblage thinking and the notion of the Chinese Water Machine to examine Chinese practices and business-related outcomes of building a dam in Africa, stressing the complicated interactions between different actors. Based on fieldwork in China and Ghana, as well as documentary data, this paper argues that Chinese engagement with Africa is a global enterprise, in which players come from China, the recipient, and other countries; and that project-level organisation and implementation under BRI umbrella will also likely be a joint production by all such players, elaborated in a path depend..

View full abstract


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

Portions of this research were supported by the Australian Research Council [Discovery Project Grant DP110103381]; and the China Scholarship Council - University of Melbourne PhD Scholarship, which funded Xiao Han's doctoral research [thesis title: Money, Markets and Hydropower: Chinese Dam Building in Africa] at the University of Melbourne.