The presence of Chinese multinational enterprises in Africa brings with it new technology and knowledge. Yet there is a lack of research on the impact of this on development in African countries. China's recent industrial development may be more appropriate for Africa's development than Western models, and the adoption of technological knowledge from Chinese firms may provide a more sustainable path to Africa's future development because of cultural, institutional, social and historical synergies. However, there may be major barriers to transferring appropriate technology and knowledge. Findings from our study in the construction industry in Ghana suggest an absence of specific technology and knowledge transfer policies and strategies, with human resource development practices, language and some cultural issues also creating barriers. Bidding practices of Chinese firms investigated also appear to militate against successful technology and knowledge transfers to local partners and staff. Yet there appears unrealised potential that has not been addressed by firms. We suggest measures that may be taken to realise this potential and point to implications for policy and future research on the development potential of China in Africa.