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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Elisa Gambino

Elisa Gambino
Elisa Gambino
School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK
Research Interests
China, Kenya, political economy, Human Geography, East Africa, infrastructure, Chinese ODIs, China-Africa, Belt and Road Initiative, Transport corridors

Elisa Gambino is a Doctoral Researcher on the AFRIGOS project.

Elisa is contributing research on Chinese engagement in East African infrastructure development and Africa's role in the Belt and Road Initiative. Her research focuses on the cases of Lamu port in Kenya and Bagamoyo port in Tanzania. 


Prof. Paul Nugent, Dr. Jose-Maria Munoz, Dr. Daniel Hammond


China's Aid During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Virtual Conference, 1st June 2020. Conference Organiser. 

China in Africa: Impact on Local Societies, Economies and Cultures, 12th-13th December, 2019, Ghent University, Belgium. Paper title: "Chinese participation in Kenyan transport infrastructure projects: reshaping local power-geometries?

3rd International Conference on the Belt and Road Initiative, 3rd-4th October 2019. The University of Edinburgh, UK. Panel oragniser (China-Africa) together with Dr. Ling Liu and paper presenter. 

Joint East Asian Studies Conference (JEASC),  4th-6th September 2019, The University of Edinburgh, UK. Paper title: "Hidden power-geometries of transport infrastructure: the case of Lamu port"

Paving the Path for the Belt and Road Initiative, 16th August 2019, The University of Greenwich, UK. Panel conveyor (China-Africa infrastructure financing) and presenter, paper title: "Chinese participation in infrastructure development in Kenya: between regulation and implementation" (co-author Davide Zoppolato) 

8th European Conference of African Studies (ECAS), 12-14 June 2019, The University of Edinburgh, UK. Paper title: "Catching pace with Sino-African Engagement"

Global Asias 5, 4-6 April 2019, Pennsylvania State College, USA. Paper title: "Hidden power-geometries of transport infrastructure: the case of Lamu port"

Oxford China-Africa Network Conference, 22 May 2018, The University of Oxford, UK. Paper title: "The paradox of greenfield: power-relations within (not-so) new spaces"

4th Global China Dialogue, 1st December 2017, London, UK. Paper title: "Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on African Societies"


Chinese in Africa/Africans in China, 9-11 July 2020, Hong Kong. Panel conveyor: "Negotiating and governing African infrastrcuture with Chinese participation" and paper presenter, title: "Chinese participation in Kenyan transport infrastrucutre projects: reshaping local power-geometries?" (*postponed due to COVID19)


"Democratising infrastructure wokshop: exploring the relation between materiality and democracy" (Paper presenter) 23-24 January 2020, Durham University, UK 

"Interdisciplinary Marine Social Science" (Participant) 17-18th September 2019, University of Lancaster, UK

"Sino-African Engagement in the 21st Century" (Organiser and Chair) 17th June 2019, The University of Edinburgh, UK


"Africa's Mobility Struggles" (Paper Presenter), 31 March - 1 April 2020, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda (*postponed due to COVID19)

"Gender and Research" (organiser together with Ian Russel), 17th March 2020, University of Edinburgh, UK (*postponed due to COVID19)

"AEGIS Summer School" 9th-13th June 2020, Cagliari University Italy (*postponed due to COVID19)


Full scholarship (2017-2020) as part of the AFRIGOS research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant ADG-2014–670851

International Exchanges

Visiting Young Synologists Programme (2018) at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, China

Previous Education:

Master's in Chinese Studies, University of Edinburgh (2015-2017)

BA in Applied Languages (Chinese and English), University of Turin (2011-2014)

Language student at Fudan University, Shanghai (2012 and 2016); Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing (2013); East China Normal University, Shanghai (2015). 


Gambino, E. (2020). What interests does China have in the Southern Red Sea?. Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale (ISPI).

Gambino, E. (2020). Job insecurity, labour contestation and everyday resistance at the Chinese-built Lamu port site in Kenya. The Asia Dialogue. 

Gambino, E. (2018). L'Africa nelle nuove vie della seta cinesi. Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale (ISPI). 

Gambino, E. (2017) “China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor: the Next Step towards a Eurasian Highway”. China Development Agenda.

Gambino, E. (2017) Translation from Chinese of the “Plan on Establishing the China-Mongolia-Russian Economic Corridor”. China Development Agenda.

Gambino, E. (2016)  “Filipino attitude towards the Belt and Road Initiative”. China Development Agenda.