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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 (Development Policy and Practice, The Open University, the U.K. awarded in 2019). 

Research interests

My research focuses on the role of China in Africa’s development trajectories. I am particularly interested in Chinese financing and development of ‘critical infrastructure’ (renewable energy, space infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, and recently, the Belt and Road Initiative) 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 Sub-Saharan Africa’ which seeks to understand the potentials and challenges of both large scale and grid-connected wind and solar farms in SSA where only 45% of the population has access to electricity compared to the global average of 88%. The project investigates the policy, financial, industrial and social factors that drive or deter investment in wind and solar projects from both ends (i.e. China and SSA).

My PhD project examined Ethiopia-China engagement in the financing and development of two wind energy infrastructures, Adama I and Adama II in Ethiopia. Using the case studies of the two wind farms, the project explored how Ethiopian actors (state and non-state) shaped and influenced the decision-making patterns and outcomes when engaging with the 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 development, DD871 Key challenges in global development and currently involved in the production of DD872 Researching global development (forthcoming). I am the Module Chair for TU872 Institutional development and T877 Development: context and practice (now in teach out), and an undergraduate Module Team Member for DD103 Investigating the social world.

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 am open to supervising PhD research students interested in exploring Africa-China relations and the broader politics of development in the Global South.


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 ((Early access))

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)

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.