An evaluation of project risk dynamics in sino-africa public infrastructure delivery; a causal loop and interpretive structural modelling approach (ISM-CLD)

Bridget Tawiah Badu Eshun, Albert P.C. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Africa’s growth in public infrastructure provision has been fueled by the collective effort of the government authority and foreign private investors. China, through state-owned corpora-tions, has become one of the leading infrastructure financier springing up numerous projects in transport, energy, oil and gas, water, and sewage sectors in Africa. Infrastructure procurement in developing countries comes with complexities and uncertainties. While Sino-Africa transnational public–private partnerships (TPPP) are becoming an increasingly popular route for public infrastructure procurement, their specific project risks and dynamics are not yet fully understood due to the typical assessment of risk autonomously. This paper identifies pertinent project risks in Sino-Africa TPPPs and applies system thinking in evaluating their behaviour and dynamics. An extensive review of literature and expert opinion employing semi-structured interviews was adopted in the identification and assessment of risk factors. Additionally, the study applied causal loop and interpretive structural modelling as an integrated approach in the assessment of risk behaviour from a systems perspective. Results indicate that risk factors associated with Sino-Africa TPPPs are interactive and portray curious systemic behaviour. Risk factors like force majeure and others associated with the governance structure and stability of the host African country are most influential, and their occurrence could inhibit project success. The study recommends that in conjunction with the conventional risk assessment by impact, systems thinking can be adopted to evaluate and comprehend the dynamics and interactions amongst the risk factors. This will improve risk assessment efficiency and fair allocation and treatment of risks as a conduit for project success and promote a win–win partnership for project actors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10822
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Causal loop diagram
  • Interpretive structural modelling
  • Risk assessment
  • Sino-Africa
  • Systems thinking
  • Transnational public-private partnership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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