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Corporate Partnerships in Emerging Countries: The China-Africa Case

World map on a picture of storage containers

Meet our new faculty: Abdoulkadre Ado has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor at the Telfer School of Management at University of Ottawa. We interviewed Professor Ado to learn more about his research on corporate partnerships in the context of emerging countries.

During your PhD studies at Laval University, you were a visiting scholar at the United Nation’s Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA). How did your experience advocating for studies on international development inform your research?

My research at the OSAA was an opportunity to learn about their work and contribute to their advocacy for African development. The experience certainly influenced my award-winning PhD thesis, which was in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063. For example, I developed a policy paper about the need to upgrade Africa on the global value chain through knowledge transfer.

Why are you interested in understanding China-Africa corporate partnerships among many other emerging countries?

Since 2010, Africa’s export to China has reached more than $400 billion while imports from China surpassed $500 billion. China is now Africa’s largest trading partner, with major investments in Africa’s promising sectors like infrastructure, natural resources, agriculture, services, and manufacturing.

Chinese organizations often invest in Africa through corporate partnerships, but what exactly do African organizations gain from their partnerships with China? This is exactly what my research focuses on. African political and business leaders increasingly believe that the industrial development of the continent depends on knowledge to be gained from high-tech partners such as China. They also hope such partnerships with Chinese organizations can be profitable.

Tell us about your research on Sino-African business alliances. Can you give us examples of well-known businesses alliances and tell us about their economic impact?

China-Africa alliances have a significant impact on Africa, transforming what were once net import countries into successful net exporters. Major alliances include Lekki FZDC (Nigeria), SORAZ (Niger), and Djarmaya Refinery (Chad), three examples of companies that have enabled Africans to attract more foreign investments, transfer knowledge, and refine oil locally, hence reducing Africa’s dependence on imported goods.

How can your research influence/impact the business communities in Canada?

Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors are increasingly looking for opportunities in African countries. My research offers key insights into the African business environment and identifies strategic ways through which  foreign organizations can develop successful partnerships, especially if they would like to establish win-win alliances with Africans.