School of Social and Political Science

Elisa Gambino

Job Title

The Political Economy of Sino-African Infrastructural Engagement: The Internationalisation of Chinese State-owned Companies in Kenya

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Elisa Gambino (she/her) was a Doctoral Researcher on the AFRIGOS project, where she contributes research on China-Africa engagement in the infrastructure sector. 

Elisa passed her PhD examination in August 2021 and is now a Fellow in the International Politics of China in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE). 



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



Gambino, E. (2021, forthcoming). “Chinese Interests in the Development of African Transport Corridors: Building the Belt and Road Initiative through Market Expansion?”, in Nugent, P. and Lamarque, H. (eds.) Transport Corridors in Africa. Melton: James Currey.

Gambino, E. (2020). "La participation chinoise dans le développement des infrastructures de transport au Kenya: une transformation des géométries du pouvoir?" [Chinese Participation in Kenyan Transport Infrastructure: Reshaping Power-Geometries?], Critique Internationale, 89, pp. 95-114 [available here in French, please contact author for English version].

Gambino, E. (2020). What interests does China have in the Southern Red Sea?. Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) [available here].

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

Gambino, E. (2018). L'Africa nelle nuove vie della seta cinesi. [Africa in China's New Silk Road] Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) [available here].


Teaching experience

Postgraduate courses: 

  • Analysing Development (distance learning)
  • International Development: Research Design and Practice (in-person & remote) 

Undergraduate courses: 

  • International Political Economy (in-person & remote)
  • Comparative Politics in a Globalised World (in-person & remote)


Conferences and seminars

Asia and Africa in Transition, Virtual Conference, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 30th June 2021. Paper presenter (co-authors Dr. Frangton Chiyemura and Dr. Tim Zajontz).

Seminar co-contributor (with Kamau Wairuri) “Researcher Positionality and Access Negotiation in the Field”, part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences “Conducting PGR research in a time of COVID-19: Conceptual and Methodological Reframings”, 23rd November 2020.

Virtual Lecture “China-Africa Infrastructure Relations: Building infrastructure and brokering labour relations” as part of a China-Africa series for the Master Degree in Local Development, University of Padua, Italy, 6th November 2020.

Seminar: “Il Pragmatismo Cinese in Africa” [China’s pragmatism in Africa], University of Trento, Italy, 24th June 2020.

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.

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

Joint East Asian Studies Conference (JEASC), 4th-6th September 2019, the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Paving the Path for the Belt and Road Initiative, 16th August 2019, the University of Greenwich, UK. Panel organiser (China-Africa infrastructure financing) and paper presenter (co-author Davide Zoppolato).

8th European Conference of African Studies (ECAS), 12th-14th June 2019, the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Global Asias 5, 4th-6th April 2019, Pennsylvania State College, USA. 

Oxford China-Africa Network Conference, 22nd May 2018, The University of Oxford, UK. 



Chinese in Africa/Africans in China, 9th-11th July 2020, Hong Kong. Panel organiser and paper presenter.  (*postponed due to COVID-19)



"The Making of Belt and Road Initiative Projects in African States" (paper presenter, co-authors Dr. Frangton Chiyemura and Dr. Tim Zajontz), 26th March 2021, University of Helsinki, Finland. 

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

"Interdisciplinary Marine Social Science" (Participant) 17th-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), 31st March - 1st April 2020, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda (*postponed due to COVID-19)

"Gender and Research" (organiser together with Ian Russell), 17th March 2020, University of Edinburgh, UK (*postponed due to COVID-19)

"AEGIS Summer School" 9th-13th June 2020, Cagliari University Italy (*postponed due to COVID-19)



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


International exchanges

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


Research interests

Research interests

China; Kenya; East Africa; Infrastructure; Chinese ODIs; China-Africa; Belt and Road Initiative; Transport Corridors