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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Has mercantilism reduced urban poverty in SSA? Perception of boom, bust, and the China-Africa trade in Lomé and Bamako
Authors:Lyons, Michal
Brown, Alison
Periodical:World Development
Geographic terms:Togo
Subjects:international trade
informal sector
External link:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2009.11.009
Abstract:This paper addresses the immediate impacts of the China-Africa trade on Africa's informal traders and its longer term impact on urban poverty, based on a comparison of the major cities of two West African countries, Togo and Mali, and drawing on semi-structured interviews with traders and on schedule-based interviews with key informants in government, business and the informal trade sector. The findings are that the increase in imports from China initially broadened access to trading for the poor, creating short-term improvements in livelihoods, but competition is driving down profit margins, and restricting the trade to a survival mechanism for many today. Thus it has provided limited long-term potential as an economic platform for national development and poverty reduction. The findings are discussed in terms of structuration theory and in terms of alternative conceptualizations of informal trade in Africa. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]