China’s strong presence in Africa has come under the spotlight in recent years. Chinese firms are involved in all spheres of African economies, from infrastructure to mining and oil.
However, far removed from these multi-million dollar deals is another ‘China in Africa’ – the thousands of Chinese shopkeepers that can be found from the backstreets of Luanda to the smallest farming towns in South Africa.
“The ‘Chinese shop’ is the opaque underbelly of China’s presence in Africa,” notes Terence McNamee, author of a groundbreaking new report by the Brenthurst Foundation.
This fascinating study sheds light on the largely undocumented lives of Chinese traders in Africa. To produce the report, the Brenthurst Foundation conducted interviews with nearly 200 Chinese traders in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia and Angola. Here are some of the highlights.