Advertisement

Improving Africa’s Competitiveness Through Knowledge Transfer: Lessons from Partnerships with China and the Way Forward

  • Abdoulkadre Ado
Chapter
Part of the AIB Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Series book series (AIBSSA)

Abstract

This chapter explores the reasons for African countries’ low achievements in learning and knowledge gain from partnerships with China and suggests ways for improvement in gaining strategic and value-adding knowledge. We analyze 29 Africa-China partnerships in 12 countries. Based on qualitative and interview-based data, we identify the weaknesses that prevented African countries from gaining significant knowledge. We propose a juxtaposition of the strategic and institutional perspectives toward effective knowledge gain. With respect to the smiling curve and global value chain, we suggest to African partners to target higher value-adding knowledge: strategic and sophisticated. Additionally, we propose the development of an intra-Africa interconnected network for knowledge transfer and experience sharing.

Keywords

Africa Industrialization Policy Knowledge transfer Learning China Joint venture 

References

  1. Ado, A. (2015). Learning and Knowledge Transfer in Africa-China Joint Ventures: An Exploratory Study. Doctoral Dissertation, Université Laval.Google Scholar
  2. Ado, A., Chrysostome, E., & Su, Z. (2016). Examining Adaptation Strategies of Sub-Saharan African Immigrant Entrepreneurs in China: The Case of Guangdong. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 21(04), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ado, A., & Su, Z. (2015). Strategizing Around Knowledge Control in Alliances: How Chinese Power Operates in Africa. In Proceedings of the Academy of International Business Sub-Saharan Africa Chapter Conference. Johannesburg: AIB Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Ado, A., & Su, Z. (2016). China in Africa: A Critical Literature Review. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 12(1), 40–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ado, A., Su, Z., & Wanjiru, R. (2017). Learning and Knowledge Transfer in Africa-China JVs: Interplay Between Informalities, Culture, and Social Capital. Journal of International Management, 23(2), 166–179.Google Scholar
  6. Adolph, C., Quince, V., & Prakash, A. (2017). The Shanghai Effect: Do Exports to China Affect Labor Practices in Africa? World Development, 89, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ahmed, A. (2007). Open Access Towards Bridging the Digital Divide-Policies and Strategies for Developing Countries. Information Technology for Development, 13(4), 337–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ahmed, A., Ghoneim, S., & Kim, R. (2008). Knowledge Management as an Enabler of Change and Innovation in Africa. International Journal of Technology Management, 45(1–2), 10–26.Google Scholar
  9. Ajakaiye, O., & Kaplinsky, R. (2009). China in Africa: A Relationship in Transition. European Journal of Development Research, 21(4), 479–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Anibaba, Y. (2015). Knowledge Transfer Through Expatriation: How do Subsidiary Employees Count? In I. Adeleye, K. Ibeh, A. Kinoti, & L. White (Eds.), The Changing Dynamics of International Business in Africa (pp. 32–51). Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Auffray, C., & Fu, X. (2015). Chinese MNEs and Managerial Knowledge Transfer in Africa: The Case of the Construction Sector in Ghana. Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, 13(4), 285–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bansal, S. (2011). The Rise of China and India in Africa. Journal of International Affairs, 64(2), 289–290.Google Scholar
  13. Beamish, P. W. (1985). The Characteristics of Joint Ventures in Developed and Developing Countries. Columbia Journal of World Business, 20(3), 13–19.Google Scholar
  14. Bishop, B. (2007). Why did China Benefit from a Joint Venture Policy? A Case Study of Shanghai. China & World Economy, 15(2), 89–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bräutigam, D. (2010). China, Africa and the International Aid Architecture. African Development Bank Working Paper Series, 107, 1–49.Google Scholar
  16. Bräutigam, D. A., & Xiaoyang, T. (2011). African Shenzhen: China’s Special Economic Zones in Africa. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 49(1), 27–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Broadman, D. (2007). Africa’s Silk Road. Washington, DC: The World Bank Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Cheru, F., & Obi, C. (2011). Chinese and Indian Engagement in Africa: Competitive or Mutually Reinforcing Strategies? Journal of International Affairs, 64(2), 91–110.Google Scholar
  19. Chrysostome, E. V., & Su, Z. (2002). Towards Successful Learning Within North-South Joint-Ventures Operating in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Comparative International Management, 5(1), 44–61.Google Scholar
  20. Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1), 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dollar, D. (2016). China’s Engagement with Africa. From Natural Resources to Human Resources. Report. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute China Center.Google Scholar
  22. Foster, V., Butterfield, W., Chen, C., & Pushak, N. (2009). Building Bridges: China’s Growing Role as Infrastructure Financier for Sub-Saharan Africa (p. 5). Washington, DC: The World Bank Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. George, G., Corbishley, C., Khayesi, J. N., Haas, M. R., & Tihanyi, L. (2016). Bringing Africa In: Promising Directions for Management Research. Academy of Management Journal, 59(2), 377–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harrigan, K. R. (1984). Joint Ventures and Global Strategies. Columbia Journal of World Business, 19(2), 7–16.Google Scholar
  25. Harrigan, K. R. (1986). Managing for Joint Ventures Success. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  26. Kamoche, K., & Harvey, M. (2006). Knowledge Diffusion in the African Context: An Institutional Theory Perspective. Thunderbird International Business Review, 48(2), 157–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kamoche, K., & Siebers, L. Q. (2015). Chinese Management Practices in Kenya: Toward a Post-Colonial Critique. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(21), 2718–2743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaplinsky, R., & Morris, M. (2008). Do the Asian Drivers Undermine Export-Oriented Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa? World Development, 36(2), 254–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kolk, A., & Rivera-Santos, M. (2016). The State of Research on Africa in Business and Management Insights from a Systematic Review of Key International Journals. Business & Society.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650316629129.
  30. Lages, C. R., Pfajfar, G., & Shoham, A. (2015). Challenges in Conducting and Publishing Research on the Middle East and Africa in Leading Journals. International Marketing Review, 32(1), 52–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lincoln, Y., & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. Marysse, S., & Geenen, S. (2009). Win-Win or Unequal Exchange? The Case of the Sino-Congolese Cooperation Agreements. Journal of Modern African Studies, 47(3), 371–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mbhalati, O. J. (2014). Reinventing the Public Sector in Africa Through Knowledge Management. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 12(1), 114–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mudambi, R. (2008). Location, Control and Innovation in Knowledge-Intensive Industries. Journal of Economic Geography, 8(5), 699–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nartey, L., & Mezias, S. (2015). Chinese Investment in Africa: Avenues for Academic Scholarship. In The Changing Dynamics of International Business in Africa (pp. 52–75). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Ondari-Okemwa, E., & Minishi-Majanja, M. K. (2007). Knowledge Management Education in the Departments of Library/Information Science in South Africa. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 73(2), 136–146.Google Scholar
  37. Osabutey, E. L., Williams, K., & Debrah, Y. A. (2014). The Potential for Technology and Knowledge Transfers Between Foreign and Local Firms: A Study of the Construction Industry in Ghana. Journal of World Business, 49(4), 560–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ozorhon, B., Arditi, D., Dikmen, I., & Birgonul, M. T. (2010). Performance of International Joint Ventures in Construction. Journal of Management in Engineering, 26(4), 209–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Paulo, S., & Reisen, H. (2010). Eastern Donors and Western Soft Law: Towards a DAC Donor Peer Review of China and India? Development Policy Review, 28(5), 535–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rogerson, C. M., & Rogerson, J. M. (2010). Local Economic Development in Africa: Global Context and Research Directions. Development Southern Africa, 27(4), 465–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Roper, S., & Arvanitis, S. (2012). From Knowledge to Added Value: A Comparative, Panel-Data Analysis of the Innovation Value Chain in Irish and Swiss Manufacturing Firms. Research Policy, 41(6), 1093–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sandrey, R., & Fundira, T. (2008). Quota Imports of Chinese Clothing Into South Africa: The First Year Analysis. Tralac Trade Brief, 4.Google Scholar
  43. Schiere, R. (2010). Building Complementarities in Africa Between Different Development Cooperation Modalities of Traditional Development Partners and China. African Development Review, 22(S1), 615–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. UNCTAD-UNIDO. (2014). Economic Development in Africa Report: Catalyzing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa. New York; Geneva: United Nations.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. U.S. International Trade Commission. (2014). China’s Trade and Investment in Financial Services with Africa. Washington, DC: Executive Briefings on Trade.Google Scholar
  46. Wang, F. L., & Elliot, E. A. (2014). China in Africa: Presence, Perceptions and Prospects. Journal of Contemporary China, 23(90), 1012–1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wang, J., & Bio-Tchane, A. (2008). Africa’s Burgeoning Ties with China. Finance & Development, 45(1), 44–47.Google Scholar
  48. Wolfe, S. E. (2009). What’s Your Story? Practitioners’ Tacit Knowledge and Water Demand Management Policies in Southern Africa and Canada. Water Policy, 11(4), 489–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wong, S. S., Ho, V. T., & Lee, C. H. (2008). A Power Perspective to Interunit Knowledge Transfer: Linking Knowledge Attributes to Unit Power and the Transfer of Knowledge. Journal of Management, 34(1), 127–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yin, J., & Vaschetto, S. (2011). China’s Business Engagement in Africa. Chinese Economy, 44(2), 43–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdoulkadre Ado
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations