Chinese official finance and political participation in Africa

Francesco Iacoella, Bruno Martorano*, Laura Metzger, Marco Sanfilippo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Media outlets globally have been reporting about civil protests against Chinese investments in Africa. We provide new evidence on this controversial topic and investigate the influence of Chinese official projects on political participation in 54 African countries between 2000 and 2014. Using 50 × 50 km cells as the unit of analysis, we match data on the occurrence of protests and other forms of political participation to georeferenced data on projects financed by the Chinese government. We find that cells which receive a larger number of projects are more likely to experience protests. Further, our analysis suggests that citizens’ heightened perception of China's rising influence on the domestic economy and lowered trust in the local government are two channels through which projects might motivate local protests.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103741
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

JEL classifications

  • o12 - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
  • o55 - Economywide Country Studies: Africa


  • Chinese official finance
  • Protests
  • Geocoded data
  • China
  • Africa
  • AID

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