With significant media attention on controversies over the Chinese government’s growing role in Africa, the New York Times chooses to look at individual entrepreneurs from China who are setting up shop on the continent:
“Before I left China,” said Mr. Yang, now 25, “I thought Africa was all one big desert.” So he figured that ice cream would be in high demand, and with money pooled from relatives and friends, he created his own factory at the edge of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. The climate is in fact subtropical, but that has not stopped his ice cream company from becoming the country’s biggest.
Stories like this have become legion across Africa in the past five years or so, as hundreds of thousands of Chinese have discovered the continent, setting off to do business in a part of the world that had been terra incognita. The Xinhua News Agency recently estimated that at least 750,000 Chinese were working or living for extended periods on the continent, a reflection of deepening economic ties between China and Africa that reached $55 billion in trade in 2006, compared with less than $10 million a generation earlier. [Full text]
[Image: A Malawian and a Chinese man working in a Chinese restaurant in Lilongwe, Malawi, by Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times]