Elisa Gambino

Elisa Gambino


  • Arthur Lewis Building, Room 1.003

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Personal profile


After joining GDI in 2023 as Lecturer in Global Development - Global Political Economy, I was awarded a three-year Hallsworth Fellowship in Political Economy. My project, titled “African hubs, Chinese trade, and global circulation,” focuses on the networks of Chinese companies increasingly engaged in cross-border exchanges in West Africa and the impact of China trade for regional integration.

My research focuses on the intersection between China’s outward economic engagement and Africa’s development trajectories. I study the internationalisation of Chinese capital in the African infrastructure, trade, and mining sectors, placing particular emphasis on the role of embeddeddness in fostering the spatial expansion of Chinese companies.

In GDI, I am research lead of the Global Production Network, Trade, and Labour group and I teach Work and Employment in the Global Economy.

Previously, I was LSE Fellow in the International Politics of China in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). I also worked as Teaching Assistant in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. 

I obtained my PhD in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh as part of the ERC-funded "African Governance and Space" (AFRIGOS) Project led by Prof Paul Nugent. My doctoral project explored the internationalisation of Chinese state-owned companies in Kenya’s infrastructure sector.

I have also worked as a consultant in the private sector and for government bodies, including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Research interests

  • China-global South engagement 
  • South-South trade
  • African development
  • Infrastructure and connectivity 
  • China's political economy 
  • State-business relations


  • MGDI60131 Work and Employment in the Global Economy


  • MGDI60072 Global Political Economy
  • MGDI60502 Development Fieldwork (GTI Pathway)

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

Adjunct Researcher, Centre of Asian Studies, University of Ghana

1 Mar 20231 Mar 2025

Guest Teacher, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)

Jan 2023Aug 2023

Secretary and co-founder, Associazione Italiana di Studi Africa-Cina (AISAC)

2023 → …


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