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Title:Demystifying Chinese business strength in urban Senegal and Ghana: structural change and the performativity of rumours
Authors:Marfaing, LaurenceISNI
Thiel, Alena
Year:2014
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies (ISSN 0008-3968)
Volume:48
Issue:3
Pages:405-423
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ghana
Senegal
Subjects:Chinese
traders
entrepreneurs
rumours
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00083968.2014.935642
Abstract:Independent Chinese entrepreneurs pursuing economic activities as diverse as restaurants, medical services and, most importantly, general trade are increasingly flocking to Africa in search of business opportunities. This article deconstructs the anti-Chinese attitudes prevalent among Senegalese and Ghanaian business people working in the trade sector. Critically, triangulated data suggest that Chinese commodities, which are said to create unfair competition for local entrepreneurs, come to the African continent through diverse import channels, not least local businesses themselves. Thus their presence is not exclusively due to the in-country activities of Chinese migrant entrepreneurs, as is commonly alleged in the daily discourses of Senegalese and Ghanaian market traders. More fundamental processes of socioeconomic change, however, are subjecting traders in Ghana and Senegal to decreasing profit margins and increasing economic competition. Fuelled by broader general myths, understood as a way of conceptualising an abstract topic in chains of cultural referents (O'Sullivan et al. 1994), about the Chinese presence in Africa, the authors argue that rumours alleging that Chinese traders encroach on the two countries' urban marketplaces are creative means of sense-making for locals operating in a rapidly changing economic environment. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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