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The Geopolitics of South-South Infrastructure Development: Chinese-financed energy projects in the global South

Mohan, Giles and Tan-Mullins, May (2019). The Geopolitics of South-South Infrastructure Development: Chinese-financed energy projects in the global South. Urban Studies, 56(7) pp. 1368–1385.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098018794351
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Abstract

Debates around infrastructure tend to focus on the global North yet in the global South demand for infrastructure is huge and we see new and emergent actors engaged in finance and construction; China being preeminent among them. China’s interests in the global South have grown apace over the past decade, especially in terms of accessing resources and securing infrastructure deals. The role of Chinese banks and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in financing and building the projects reveals a blurring between geopolitical and commercial interests and processes. The paper situates China’s entry into the global South as part of a geopolitics that is simultaneously geoeconomic and interrogates these issues through case studies of Chinese-backed projects in Ghana and Cambodia. These projects are spatially and politically complex with China adopting a range of financing models – often including an element of resource swaps – in which bank finance is critical and marks the Chinese as different to western financiers. These international deals are secured at the political elite level and so by-pass established forms of national governance and accountability in the recipient countries, while the turnkey construction projects remain locally enclaved. The cases also show that wider developmental benefits are limited with ‘ordinary’ citizens – especially those in the rural areas - gaining relatively little from these major energy projects and the benefits accruing to urban-based elites.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 Urban Studies Journal Limited
ISSN: 1360-063X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
China goes global: A comparative study of Chinese hydropower dams in Africa and Asia. (XD-11-050-GM)ES/J01320X/1ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Chinese national oil companies and the economic development of African oil producersES/M004066/1Economic and Social Research Council
Keywords: China; development; economic development; finance/financialisation; infrastructure; politics; urbanisation and developing countries
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Development
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Item ID: 55889
Depositing User: Giles Mohan
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 08:22
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 07:45
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/55889
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