The lives of others: An investigation into the lives and attitudes of Chinese migrant workers in Africa against the historical background of Sino-African cooperation.

As China’s expansion into Africa has been increasing enormously over recent years, Sino-African relations have become a prominent topic in the general media and for observers of both Africa’s and China’s international relations. It is surprising that relatively little has been written about Chinese migrants in Africa. While China claims their relationship with Africa to be mutually profitable, a high proportion of the available available literature presents Chinese presence on the continent in increasingly negative ways, this literature is mostly of Western authorship. It is timely to attempt to gain greater understanding of the experiences of Chinese migrants workers who come – in increasing numbers – with Chinese aid, trade, business and development projects to the African continent. This small scale study uses existing literature to explore Sino-African cooperation and migration to Africa, and obtained empirical evidence from conducting in-depth interviews with Chinese migrants in various African countries in order to gain understanding of their lives and attitudes. This paper demonstrates that through largely positive encounters and despite language barriers and cultural differences, Chinese migrants are playing a prominent role in Sino-African cooperation.

You are most welcome to read my research. Please note that in order to guarantee the anonymity of the respondents that were interviewed for this research,  I have made use of pseudonyms to replace their real names.

Click here to download “The Lives of Others”, by Sanne Schouwenburg (PDF file)

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