Featured Researchers

The following is a rotating list of researchers working on the China-Africa relationship. We will periodically update the selection, aiming to highlight individuals who have recently finished their PhDs, published, or are currently working on new and interesting areas of research.

+ Sven GRIMM

Researcher, Department of Bi- and Multilateral Development Cooperation, German Development Institute (Bonn, Germany)

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Research Interests: Rising Powers, Emerging Economies, International Cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa, China-Africa relations, and South Africa's international relations.

Languages: English, German.

Bio: Dr. Sven Grimm is currently a researcher in the Department of bi- and multilateral development cooperation at the German Development Institute. Previously he served as the Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies, at Stellenbosch University where he maintains an appointment as Extraordinary Associate Professor. He is a political scientist and has worked on external partners’ cooperation with Africa since 1999. His work focuses on emerging economies’ role in Africa and specifically China-Africa relations. Dr Grimm has studied in Hamburg, Germany; Accra, Ghana; and Dakar, Senegal and obtained his PhD from Hamburg University/Germany in 2002 with a thesis on EU-Africa relations. He has also worked with the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).



+ Katy N. LAM

Assistant Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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Research Interests: Globalization of Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs, China-Global South dynamics (Africa and Southeast Asia), Chinese international migration.

Languages: Cantonese, English, French, Mandarin.

Bio: Dr. Katy Lam is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Applied Social Sciences of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is a fellow of the project of Migration, China, and the Global Context of the Max Weber Foundation, Germany. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Before pursuing an academic career, she has worked for the United Nations in Geneva for five years on negotiations on international agreements and project management in environmental areas. Her research interests include the dynamics between China and developing countries, globalization of Chinese enterprises (Africa and Southeast Asia), as well as Chinese international migration. Her publications include “Workforce localization among Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Ghana” in Journal of Contemporary China (with Antoine Kernen); “L’inévitable localisation: les entreprises publiques chinoises (EPC) de construction au Ghana” in Politique Africaine; “Chinese migration adaptations: African agency and social capital creation in Ghana” in Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, etc. Her latest book Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in West Africa: A Triple-Embedded Globalization will be published with Routledge in the end of 2016.





Associate Professor, Political Science, William Paterson University in New Jersey.

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Research Interests: International political economy, comparative politics, public policy, hydropolitics, African politics.

Bio: Aaron Tesfaye is author of The Political Economy of the Nile Basin Regime in the Twentieth Century (NY: Edwin Mellen, 2009) and Political Power and Ethnic Federalism: the Struggle for Democracy in Ethiopia (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002).

He has competed a book manuscript State and Development in Africa: the Case of Ethiopia, (Palgrave forthcoming May 2017) is working on China in Ethiopia: the Long Term Perspective, (SUNY Press, forthcoming 2017) and has contributed a chapter, Ethiopia, China and the West, In Chris Alden and Laura Barber eds., China in Africa; Building Peace and Security Cooperation on the Continent, (Palgrave, forthcoming 2017).

He was a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is a Visiting Professor at the Africa Union/Institute of Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University, and has also taught at Universidad De Sao Jose, Macau (2011.) He has published articles in the Beijing Review's China Africa Journal, Journal of Northeast African Studies, International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Journal of Ethiopian Federal Studies, Journal of African Union Studies (JoAUS,) Canadian Journal of African Studies, and UCLA’s Globalization Research Center.



+ YU Qiu

Visiting Fellow, African Studies Center, University of Leiden

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Research Interests: Emotional, affective and intimate dimension of China-Africa interactions, the constructions and (mal) implementations of friendship politics in China’s socioeconomic and political relation with Africa, and social transformations of gender relations, families, and racial and national identities in contemporary China.

Bio: Trained as a social anthropologist at the University of Cambridge, Yu takes an interdisciplinary approach to unpacking the private and intimate life of the Nigerian traders in Guangzhou (China), a city nicked named ‘Chocolate City’, which saw an increase of African migration in the late 2000s and the early 2010s. The findings are documented in her Ph.D. thesis, which she pays particular attention to the cultural and social logic behind the establishment of intimate/business partnerships between the Nigerian traders (mainly male traders) and the Chinese (mostly female migrants from the less developed areas of China). Besides, she explores the rich and diverse practices of what she terms ‘complicit intimacy’ in people’s way of navigating a better and promising future. In the past years, she has been doing ethnographic fieldwork in Guangzhou (China), Lagos (Nigeria) and Yiwu (China).