China-Africa Legal and Judiciary Systems: Advancing Mutually Beneficial Economic Relations


This paper provides a comparative longitudinal assessment of legal and judicial reforms relevant for China-Africa economic relations. It draws on and extends aspects of institutional and organizational theory, focusing on the concepts of convergence, alignment, hybridization, and institutional voids. Data were obtained from publically available databases from reputable international organizations including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. Results point to areas where China has made progress more than Africa, and areas where serious capacity and performance gaps remain, especially for individual African countries. The paper provides a brief discussion of the implications for the need to build organizational capacities necessary for strengthening China-Africa economic law and advancing mutually beneficial economic relations and concludes by identifying research limitations, and areas for future research.

Share and Cite:

M. Kiggundu, "China-Africa Legal and Judiciary Systems: Advancing Mutually Beneficial Economic Relations," Beijing Law Review, Vol. 4 No. 4, 2013, pp. 155-167. doi: 10.4236/blr.2013.44020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty. London, UK: Profile Books.
[2] Africa Capacity Building Foundation (2011). Africa Capacity Indicators 2011: Capacity Development in Fragile States. Harare, Zimbabwe (also ACI 2012 & 2013).
[3] African Capacity Building Foundation (2008). A Survey of the capacity needs of Africa’sregional economic communities. Harare Zimbabwe.
[4] Brinks, D. M., & Gauri, V. (2012). The law’s majestic equity? The distributive impactof litigating social and economic rights. World Bank, Development Research Group, Human Development and Public Services Team, Policy Research Working Paper WPS5999. Also see Free Exchange: The law and the poor. The Economist (print edition).
[5] Chen, M., & Miller, D. (2010). West Meets East: Toward an ambicultural approachto management. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24, 17-24.
[6] Chi, F. (2000). Reform determines future of China. Beijing: Foreign Language Press.
[7] Clement, C., & Murrell, P. (2001). Introduction. In P. Murrell (Ed.), Assessing the value of law in transition economies (pp. 1-19). Ann Arbour, MI: The University of Michigan.
[8] Cooter, R. D., & Schafer, H. (2012). Solomon’s Knot: How law can end the poverty of nations. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
[9] Dahl, B. (2011).Closing the transition gap: The rule of law imperative in stabilizing environments. Small Wars Journal.
[10] Economic Commission for Africa (2005). Africa governance report 2005. Ethiopia Addis Ababa.
[11] Ernst & Young (2011). It’s time for Africa: Africa’s attractiveness survey.
[12] Jergen, M. (2013). Poor numbers: How we are misled by African development statistics and what we can do about it. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
[13] Hong, Y., & Zhu, W. (2009). China-Africa legal exchange and cooperation: The past, present and future. In Liu H. W., & J. M. Yang (Eds.), Fifty years of Sino-African cooperation: Background, progress & significance (pp. 263-369). Yunnan University Press.
[14] Jackson, T. (2012). Post colonialism and organizational knowledge in the wake of China’s presence in Africa: Interrogating South-South relations. Organization, 19, 181-204.
[15] Kar, D., & Cartwright-Smith, D. (2010). Illicit financial flows from Africa: Hidden resource for development. Washington, D.C.: Global Financial Integrity.
[16] Kar, D., & Curcio, K. (2011). Illicit financial flows from developing countries: 2000-2009 update with a focus on Asia. Washington, D.C.: The Global Financial Integrity.
[17] Khanna, T., & Palepu, K. G. (2010). Winning in emerging markets: A road map for strategy and execution. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
[18] Kayizza-Mugerwa, S. (2003). Reforming Africa’s institutions: Ownership, incentivesand capacities. New York: United Nations University Press,
[19] Kiggundu, M. N. (1989). Managing organizations in developing Countries: An operational and strategic approach. West Hartford: Kumerian Press.
[20] Kiggundu, M. N. (2008). A profile of China’s outward foreign direct investment. Proceedings ofthe American Society of Business and Behavioural Sciences, 15, 130-144.
[21] Looney, R. (2012). Entrepreneurship and the process of development: A framework for applied expeditionary economics in Pakistan. Kauffman Foundation Research Series.
[22] Lubman S. B. (2012). The evolution of law reform in China: An uncertain path. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Edgar.
[23] Mancuso, S. (2008). The harmonization of commercial law in Africa and itsadvantages for Chinese investment in Africa. Macao: University of Macau Institute for Advanced Legal Studies.
[24] Mintzberg, H. (1979). The structuring of organizations. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall.
[25] Murrell, P. (2001). Assessing the value of law in transition economies. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.
[26] New York Times (2013). China finds resistance to oil deals in Africa.
[27] North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[28] Pei, M. (2001). Does legal reform protect economic transactions? Commercial disputesin China. In P. Murrell (Ed.), Assessing the value of law in transition economies. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbour.
[29] Redding G., & Witt, M. A. (2007). The future of Chinese capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
[30] Scott, R.W. (1998). Organizations: rational, natural and open systems (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[31] Scott, R. W. (2008). Institutions and organizations: Ideas and interests (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[32] Studwell, J. (2013). How Asia works: Success and failure in the world’s most dynamic region. New York, NY: Grove Press.
[33] Transparency International (2011). Bribe payers index 2011.
[34] Trebilcock, M. J., & Prado, M. M. (2012). What makes poor countries poor? Institutional determinants of development. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Edgar.
[35] Wang, J. Y. (2012). Company law in China: Regulation in business organizations in a transition economy. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Edgar.
[36] Wihlborg, C. (2002). Insolvency and debt recovery procedures in economic development: An overview of African law. Discussion Paper No. 2002/27, UNI/WIDER.
[37] Willebois, E. D., Halter, E. M., Harrison, R. A., Ji, W. P., Park, W., & Sharman, J. C. (2011). The puppet masters: How the corrupt use legal structures to hide stolen assets and what to do about it. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
[38] World Bank (2011). China 2030: Building a modern, harmonious, and creative high-incomesociety. Washington, D.C.
[39] World Bank (2002). World development report: Building institutions for markets. Washington, D.C.
[40] Yelpaala, K. (2006). In search of a model investment law for Africa. Law for development review. Africa Development Bank, 1, 1-75.
[41] Zhu, W. (2009). OHADA: As a basis for Chinese investment in Africa. Recuit Penant, 119, 869.
[42] Zhu, W. (2011). Arbitration as the best option for the settlement of China-African trade and investment disputes. The Centre for African Laws and Society, Faculty of Law, Xiangtan University, Hunan Province, PRC; Paper presented at the Workshop on Africa-China Relations: Towards Sustainable Chinese Investment in Africa, The University of Hong Kong, School of Humanities, African Studies Programme.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.