Chinese in Africa
Posted by Peter W. Schramm
According to this New York Times story there are circa 750,000 Chinese working and/or living in Africa. Good story about a Chinese owned ice cream factory in Malawi. The Chinese set up businesses, while the West sends relief experts working international agencies. Interesting.
8:29 PM / August 18, 2007
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There's no question the Chinese are industrious. I don't doubt that many have set up shop in Africa.
But can we accept at face value the number "750,000" offered by the Chinese news agency?
I will tell you one thing... those Chinese will gamble with you. As a rule of thumb you can assume that they play loose aggressive poker.
Playing the merchant class role didn't work out too well for the Indians in East Africa, particulary in Tanzania and Zaire, as V.S. Naipaul's super-sobering A Bend in the River reveals. My favorite post-colonial novelist, because he has the guts and sense to ask at times, "maybe such-and-such a people would have been better off to have delayed decolonialization for several more generations." Of course, Zaire-now-Congo-again where the bulk of this novel is set was/is/and perhaps always will be hopeless. Those Chinese will probably fare okay in many other African countries, but they still ought to read this book.