Africa’s Global Infrastructures

South–South Transformations in Practice

Edited by Part of the African Arguments series
February 2024 9781805260226 328pp
Available as an eBook Available from Oxford Scholarship Online
EU Customers


The boom in South–South relations since the early 2000s has seen a flurry of investment in African infrastructure from emerging markets across the Global South. While the extent to which these projects spur growth is constantly debated, few studies have addressed their impact on ground-level political and socio-economic practices in Africa—or their consequences for transnational governance more broadly.

Through the lens of infrastructure, this book investigates the developmental ideas, processes and techniques that have travelled to and emerged from Africa as a result of Global South–led projects. How have they been adapted, transformed and contested by local actors? How does this shape business–society relations? And how has this challenged the Western-dominated global order? The contributors zoom in on large-scale Chinese-, Brazilian- and Indian-funded ventures—dams, ports, roads and mines—across countries including Kenya, Mozambique and the DRC. These ‘frontier zones’, bringing together politicians and practitioners, campaign groups and communities from Africa and elsewhere, offer a unique insight into the global workings of our contemporary world.

Taking a bottom-up approach, Africa’s Global Infrastructures explores the longer-term significance and implications of these pluralistic socio-economic interactions, for the continent and beyond.


Africa’s Global Infrastructures goes beyond simple binaries of South–South cooperation as either challenging the Western-dominated global order or not, adopting a nuanced approach to exploring Africa’s multiple entanglements with external actors through the prism of infrastructure projects.’ — Survival

‘This superbly written book unpacks the multiple levels of global and local interactions in South–South relations like no other. It radically analyses Africa’s place in ongoing changes, including the transnational processes, technologies, models and practices underpinning a new international relations.’ — Cyril Obi, Program Director for the African Peacebuilding Network, Social Science Research Council, and co-editor of The Rise of China and India in Africa

‘An excellent collection transcending the narrow reading of Southern powers’ engagement in Africa’s infrastructure via its impacts on the liberal international order. It provides innovative and empirically rich insights into the breadth of the trans-scalar entanglements that constitute South–South relations, foregrounding African agency.’ — Shahar Hameiri, Professor in the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, and co-author of Fractured China: How State Transformation Is Shaping China’s Rise

Africa’s Global Infrastructures is a most welcome and timely book, with a high level of expertise and critical insight into the current state of Africa. A significant contribution to African studies, political science, global studies, environmental social sciences, peace and development.’ — Ruy Blanes, Associate Professor in the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg

‘Rejecting sweeping generalisations and simple binaries of South–South cooperation, this book adopts a nuanced, empirically grounded approach to exploring Africa’s multiple entanglements with external actors through the prism of infrastructure projects.’ — Karen Smith, Leiden University and the University of Cape Town, and co-editor of International Relations from the Global South


Jana Hönke is a professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Bayreuth.

Eric Cezne is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University.

Yifan Yang is a PhD candidate in African Studies at the University of Bayreuth.

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