Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa: A Firm-Level Study of Sub-Saharan African SMEs

Samuel Gyamerah, Zheng He, Emmanuel Etto-Duodu Gyamerah, Dennis Asante, Bright Nana Kwame Ahia, Enock Mintah Ampaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few years, the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has seen a marked increase among state-owned enterprises and large organizations. However, SMEs especially, those in Africa are yet to exploit the full potential opportunities embedded in the BRI. This study takes the initiative to systematically identify and rank the set of factors that enable the implementation of the BRI among Sub-Saharan African (SSA) SMEs using survey data from 178 stakeholders. In total, we identified twenty-two factors and categorized them into five broad headings. These are governmental, technical and innovation, firm-specific, network and cooperation, and BRI policy factors. Subsequently, the picture fuzzy projection-based TOPSIS technique was applied to rank the factors and sub-factors. The utmost ranked factor in the five categories was the governmental factors, while transparency in BRI policy, subsidy for SMEs, flexible trade agreements and clarity in the BRI policy framework emerged as the top four factors respectively within the 22 sub-factors. The study demonstrates that the BRI is embodied with its unique features, hence, the factors explored in this study could provide policymakers and SMEs in Africa and beyond with more useful information to understanding the nature of BRI projects objectively and comprehensively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-745
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Chinese Political Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Belt and road initiative
  • Enablers
  • Implementation
  • Small and medium-scale enterprises
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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