China plays an indispensable role in Africa’s burgeoning energy market as a financier and contractor for much of the new electrical capacity across the continent. China’s building large new coal plants in Zimbabwe, solar power facilities in Kenya and Zambia and massive hydroelectric dams in Guinea.
While there’s no dispute that African countries need the additional electrical capacity and distribution that Chinese stakeholders facilitate, China’s presence in the market is quite contentious. There are widespread concerns over debt sustainability, environmental destruction and a general lack of transparency in the deals that the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises do with African countries.
Wei Shen closely follows China’s energy activities in Africa as a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, England. Wei recently published a new paper on Beijing’s impact on the African energy sector and joins Eric & Cobus to discuss his findings.
- Energy Research & Social Science: China’s Role in Africa’s Energy Transition: a Critical Review of its Intensity, Institutions, and Impacts by Wei Shen
- Oxford Policy Management: China role for Africa energy transition: a critical review by Wei Shen
- PV Tech: State-owned Chinese firm to build 500MW of solar in Uganda by Tom Kenning
Dr. Wei Shen is a political economist who worked for development finance agencies in China for over ten years. His research interests include: the political economy of China’s low-carbon transformation and climate change policies; China’s role in global climate finance and climate governance; and South-South cooperation on climate change issues. He is particularly interested in the role of business and private actors in the process of low-carbon transformation in the rising powers like China and India.