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Dr Frangton Chiyemura

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University's Development Policy and Practice Group as a Lecturer in International Development in January 2020. I hold a PhD in International Development and Inclusive Innovation. 


I am currently Project Director for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission supported MSc in Global Development at the OU. The project is funded by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, to enable talented students to access training not otherwise available in their home country, through distance learning.

I am also the Postgraduate Research Students Co-Convenor for Development Studies and the Co-Pathway Lead for Development Policy and Practice in the Economic and Social Research Council's Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (with Oxford and Brunel universities) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Doctoral Training Partnership (with Oxford and Cambridge universities).


Research interests

My research interests are primarily in the political economy of development and broader politics of development in the Global South. I am particularly interested in Chinese financing and development of ‘critical infrastructure’ (renewable energy, space infrastructure, telecommunications, transport etc) in African countries and how such projects contribute to inclusive growth and structural economic transformation.

Currently, I am working on a research project on Chinese-backed renewable energy projects in Africa which seeks to understand the potentials and challenges of both large-scale and grid-connected wind and solar farms in Africa where about 43% of the population does not have access to electricity. We investigate the policy, financial, industrial and social factors that drive or deter investment in wind and solar projects from both ends (i.e., China and Africa).  As these factors may vary significantly among different African countries, we adopt a comparative case study approach to understand the complexity associated with the different phases of project development and finance and their impacts within the host countries.

Previously, I looked at Chinese-backed wind energy projects in Ethiopia with the aim of understanding how Ethiopian state and non-state actors shape and influence decision-making patterns and processes when engaging with Chinese stakeholders, from project planning, brokering, implementation, management, and operations and maintenance.

Teaching interests

I teach postgraduate modules on our new MSc Global Development and was involved in the production of DD870 Understanding global developmentDD871 Key challenges in global development and DD872 Researching global development . I was the Module Chair for TU872 Institutional development and T877 Development: context and practice (now in Teach-Out). I am currently Module Team Member for D890 Global development in practice and D229, level 2 Development Studies module (in production). 

Prior to this, I was also involved in the development of the new Microcredential, Global development in practice: designing an intervention offered through the award-winning platform, Futurelearn.  

I currently supervise a Doctoral student and I am open to supervising PhD research students interested in exploring the political economy of development in Africa, Africa-China relations and the broader politics of development in the Global South.


Crop species diversity: A key strategy for sustainable food system transformation and climate resilience (2024)
Zuza, Emmanuel Junior; Lambert, Kestrel; Macmillan, Tom; Chiyemura, Frangton; Araya, Yoseph; Bowskill, Vicky; Oluseye, Ayomide; Ng’endo Kanui, Mary; Keding, Gudrun; Butler, Gillian; Breman, Elinor; King, Israel Oliver; Matumba, Limbikani; Heddenhausen, Jessica; Nordin, Stacia and Bhagwat, Shonil
Food and Energy Security, 13, Article e558(3)

A dynamic institutional analysis of China’s engagement with Africa’s renewable energy market (2023)
Chiyemura, Frangton; Shen, Wei; Burgess, Meryl; Mulugetta, Yacob and Wang, Yao
Environmental Politics, 32(7) (pp. 1140-1162)

Infrastructure and the Politics of African State Agency: Shaping the Belt and Road Initiative in East Africa (2022)
Chiyemura, Frangton; Gambino, Elisa and Zajontz, Tim
Chinese Political Science Review, 8 (pp. 105-131)

Enhancing China–Africa Cooperation in the Renewable Energy Sector (2021-03)
Ayele, Seife; Shen, Wei; Chiyemura, Frangton and Gu, Jing
IDS Policy Briefing, 76, Article 76(March 2021)

[Book Review] Energy security and cooperation in Eurasia. Power, profits and politics by Ekaterina Svyatets, Oxon, UK, Routledge Studies in Energy Policy, 2016. (2021)
Chiyemura, Frangton
Eurasian Geography and Economics, 62(5-6) (pp. 778-780)

'Perceptions of reality'? challenges of climate change to indigenous knowledge systems in Vhembe district municipality, South Africa (2016-01-01)
Chiyemura, Frangton and Mokgale, Makgopa
Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, 15(2) (pp. 88-103)

China-Africa relations in a changing world (2024)
Chiyemura, Frangton
In: Dauncey, Emil; Desai, Vandana and Potter, Robert B eds. The Companion to Development Studies
ISBN : 9780429282348 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Stoking USA-China Rivalry: Zimbabwe and the Internationalization of Its Anti-Sanctions Agenda (2023)
Chiyemura, Frangton and Obert, Hodzi
In: Roberts, Kari and Bano, Saira eds. The Ascendancy of Regional Powers in Contemporary US-China Relations Rethinking the Great Power Rivalry. Global Foreign Policy Studies (pp. 215-237)
ISBN : ISBN 978-3-031-37612-2 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham, Switzerland

Structural Adjustment (2020)
Mohan, Giles and Chiyemura, Frangton
In: Kobayashi, Audrey ed. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (pp. 61-69)
ISBN : 978-0-08-102296-2 | Publisher : Elsevier

Scaling China's Green Energy Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Prospects (2021-11-29)
Chiyemura, Frangton; Shen, Wei and Chen, Yushi
The African Climate Foundation

Chinese firms — and African labor — are building Africa’s infrastructure (2021-04-02)
Chiyemura, Frangton
The Washington Post, Washington D.C..

Contextualizing African Agency in Ethiopia-China engagement in wind energy infrastructure financing and development (2020-10-28)
Chiyemura, Frangton
Open University, Milton Keynes, U.K..

Chinese Infrastructure Financing: Is Ethiopia Naïve? (2019-12-28)
Chiyemura, Frangton
Addis Fortune Newspaper, Addis Ababa.