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Africa and the export of China’s clean energy revolution

Shen, W.; Power, M.

Africa and the export of China’s clean energy revolution Thumbnail


W. Shen


The spectacular scale and speed of China’s domestic renewable energy capacity development and technology catch-up has in recent years been followed by the ‘go out’ of Chinese clean energy technology firms seeking new markets and opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper explores the growing involvement of China in the development and transfer of renewable energy technologies in Africa and examines the key drivers and obstacles shaping Chinese renewable energy investments and exports. Far from there being some kind of grand or harmonious strategy directed by a single monolithic state, we argue that fragmented and decentralised state apparatuses and quasi-market actors in China are increasingly pursuing their own independent interests and agendas around renewable energy in Africa in ways often marked by conflict, inconsistency and incoherence. Moving beyond the state-centric analysis common in much of the research on contemporary China–Africa relations, we examine the motivations of a range of non-state and quasi-state actors, as well their different perceptions and constructions of risk, policy environments and political stability in recipient countries. The paper explores the case study example of South Africa, where Chinese firms have become increasingly significant in the diffusion of renewable energy technology.


Shen, W., & Power, M. (2017). Africa and the export of China’s clean energy revolution. Third World Quarterly, 38(3), 678-697.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2016
Publication Date Mar 4, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 4, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jan 20, 2018
Journal Third World Quarterly
Print ISSN 0143-6597
Electronic ISSN 1360-2241
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 3
Pages 678-697


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