Ulrikke Wethal: Beyond the China factor: challenges to backward linkages in the Mozambican construction sector
In The Journal of Modern African Studies, 2018.
China has become a significant contributor to closing Africa's infrastructural gap, but Chinese companies are repeatedly criticised for not involving local businesses in their operations, and for isolating themselves from the socio-economic environment. Can this be attributed to ‘typical Chinese business practice’?
This article employs linkage theory to examine the weak domestic backward linkages in Chinese-led construction projects in Mozambique. The analysis shows that while Chinese companies do not involve Mozambican businesses in their activities to any extent, this cannot be attributed solely to any ‘Chinese business model’. It is a consequence of weak local industrial capabilities, fragile social infrastructure and a liberal policy environment not conducive to the creation of domestic backward linkages in Chinese-led construction projects.