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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:American cars in Cotonou: culture in African entrepreneurship and the making of a globalising trade
Author:Beuving, JoostISNI
Year:2015
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies (ISSN 1469-7777)
Volume:53
Issue:3
Pages:317-338
Language:English
Geographic terms:Benin
Europe
United States
Subjects:Nigeriens
traders
entrepreneurs
automobiles
social networks
globalization
Link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X15000373
Abstract:Traders in Cotonou (Bénin), a prominent hub in the Euro-West African second-hand car trade, traditionally sold cars imported from Europe. Since the 2000s however, more and more cars are being imported from the US. Anthropological study of one group of entrepreneurs active in this new business, traders from Niger, reveals an African entrepreneurship at work that follows a distinct social pattern: traders are groomed in close kinship ties in West Africa and then develop new social ties with overseas migrants. Their trade thus becomes embedded in more globalised networks, yet at the same time it loosens and that works against profitable business. Close analysis of their careers reveals a cultural pattern that compels entrepreneurs to become traders, economic opportunity notwithstanding. Whether this is representative of Africa's changing place in the global economic order remains to be seen; however, this article suggests how culture in entrepreneurship may be key to understanding that. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]
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