Worlds of Work in the Belt and Road: Analysing Dynamics of Labour in Chinese Enterprises in Africa


PK Anand

in The Belt and Road Initiative in Asia, Africa, and Europe (edited by David Arase and Pedro Miguel Amakasu Raposo de Medeiros Carvalho)

London: Routledge, 2022

Publisher’s website

Abstract: The discourse on the considerable rise in Chinese enterprises and investments overseas, especially with the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative, has often been centered on infrastructural capacities and the relative successes or failures, thereby overwhelming other possible narratives. The increase in the investments brings into focus the massive amounts of labour/workforce involved—both the workers from mainland China and the local workers. COVID-19 and its impact on worlds of work become an additional dimension in analyzing labour systems and practices in Chinese enterprises and investments in the African continent. In this light, this chapter maps the contours of labour relations in Chinese enterprises and investments in Africa and seeks to understand the dynamics of their operation. It will analyze the labour regimes and labour practices in these workplaces as well as describe the laws and regulations governing the workforce. It will also look for any possible replication of Mainland China’s labour regulations and labour regime in Africa, thereby investigating whether China’s labour regime is extending into Africa. Finally, it will also seek to understand how COVID-19 impacts or alters the dynamics of labour relations in Chinese investments.

About the author: PK Anand was a HYI Urban Studies Training Program Visiting Fellow from 2016-17.