The evolving perspectives on the Chinese labour regime in Africa

George Ofosu, David Sarpong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the logics, persistence and evolution of perspectives on the Chinese labour regime in Africa. Studies find that Chinese firms’ labour practices engender abuse via casualisation of labour, low remuneration, and a general lack of adherence to occupational safety. Contrarian studies however demonstrate variations among Chinese firms’ labour practices as mediated by the labour dynamics of host countries, labour specificities and industrial capitalism dynamics. The article concludes by questioning the ‘talent gap’ dynamic in Africa in relation to Chinese firms’ managerial hiring practices and calls for an engaged scholarship on how Chinese investment in Africa’s human resource base is altering the ‘talent gap’ phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1747-1766
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (


  • Africa
  • China
  • capitalism mechanisms
  • labour practices
  • sector specificities


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