Bilateral Sino-Africa Migration: Trends and Implications for African Development

Authors: Kefa Otiso*, Bowling Green State University
Topics: Africa, China, Development
Keywords: Chinese, Africans, immigration, migration, development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 7, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper interrogates the nature of contemporary bilateral Sino-Africa migration and its role in Africa’s economic, social, and technological development. While many scholars have probed the rapidly growing economic ties between Africa and China, few have looked at the related issue of bilateral Sino-African migration which has also increased tremendously in recent decades. Using a variety of sources, the paper finds that, first, bilateral Sino-African migration streams are disproportionate, with the number of Africans in China being minuscule compared to the estimated 1.1 million Chinese immigrants in Africa. Second, while most Africans in China tend to be traders, Chinese immigrants in Africa span the gamut from “laborers working in retail or catering … [to] intellectuals and skilled professionals.” Third, while many Chinese own land in Africa, have intermarried with locals, and run major corporations in Africa, the opposite situation is much less true. With this in mind, the paper concludes with pointers as to whether or not this situation is developmentally beneficial to Africa.

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