Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance to explore relationship between Africa and Asian International Financial Centres

13 July 2021

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Africa’s financial connections to Asian financial centres such as Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong will be the focus of a new research project within the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance.

This research aims to fill a gap in the global scholarly understanding of financial linkages between Africa and these international financial centres. The engagement between African states and Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong remains understudied despite signs of their growing significance to Africa’s external financial relations.

“The offshore dimension of these financial centres has proven attractive to African clients as well as outside corporate activity involving Africa,” said Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Professor of the International Politics of Africa and co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance. “These international financial centres combine world-class service provision, political stability, light regulation, and a commitment to secrecy. Understanding the significant and overlooked reality of these new economic relations is essential to understanding the barriers to inclusive growth, better social services and infrastructure across Africa.”

This new research stream, led by Professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira in collaboration with Professor Stefan Dercon and Nicolas Lippolis, will explore the reasons for Africa’s increased engagement with these financial centres. It will also assess the potential domestic impact on African growth and development. At time of significant regulatory reformism in African financial sectors, it could also inform African efforts to build back better in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.