The Chinese ‘infrastructural fix’ in Africa: Contradictions in the Sino-Zambian ‘road bonanza’

  • Tim Zajontz (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Invited talk at the International Conference Perspectives on the Belt & Road Initiative organised by the Confucius Institute for Scotland and the University of Edinburgh
This talk scrutinises the surge in Chinese-sponsored infrastructure development in Africa through the theoretical lens of David Harvey’s theory of ‘spatio-temporal fixes’. It is argued that China’s mounting overcapacities in the infrastructure and construction sectors in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 global economic crisis necessitated a spatial expansion of its accumulation regime. The latter has been facilitated by an excessive disbursement of loans by state-owned banks for infrastructure projects, not least in Africa. Drawing on field research data, the paper problematises Chinese-sponsored road construction in Zambia by scrutinising three intricately interrelated governance modalities that ‘govern’ the ‘infrastructural fix’: debt financing, neo-patrimonial procurement processes and public-private partnerships (PPPs). As Zambia’s fiscal situation has rendered further debt accumulation politically increasingly costly, the recent shift towards project finance PPPs, combined with ‘not so public’ procurement processes, ensures that the Sino-Zambian road bonanza enters the next round.
Period3 Oct 2019
Event titleInternational Conference New Perspectives on the Belt and Road Initiative
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map


  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • Debt
  • Zambia
  • China
  • Infrastructure
  • PPP