Integration of African firms into global value chains: A comparison of Finnish and Chinese firms’ sourcing from Africa

Weimu You, Asta Salmi, Katri Kauppi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)



This paper aims to analyze the roles that African suppliers play in global value chains and the strategies that foreign firms adopt to integrate African firms into their supply chains.

The empirical research of this paper is based on a multiple case study and on interview data of foreign buyers and their entry into African supply markets: five Finnish companies and five Chinese companies were interviewed in 2014-2015.

The authors find that Finnish firms make relatively small investments and start sourcing operations on a small scale, whereas Chinese firms are running large infrastructural projects, relying on local sourcing. African firms typically only play modest roles with little value capture in the chain, supplying raw materials and simple products. The African infrastructural and cultural context makes it challenging for foreign firms to provide local suppliers with more strategic roles in their chains, thus hindering integration of local firms into global value chains.

This paper is one of the first to offer a comparison of Finnish (Western) and Chinese (other emerging economy) firms’ sourcing from Africa and provides understanding of the role of African suppliers in current value chains. The authors offer a qualitative exploration of why companies invest in African suppliers and of the scope of African presence in global value chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-281
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number2-3
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • China
  • Africa
  • Finland
  • Sourcing
  • Value chain


Dive into the research topics of 'Integration of African firms into global value chains: A comparison of Finnish and Chinese firms’ sourcing from Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this