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May 17, 2019

It’s well documented that a lot of people in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa resent the growing Chinese migrant presence, both in terms of the people who come and the Chinese way of doing business that is often culturally out of sync with local customs.

Those perceptions, however, can be misleading.

While an influx of Chinese business people in places like Accra have brought new, intense competition for local merchants and suppliers, they've also helped to lower prices for consumers. Other merchants, who buy wholesale, appreciate the new competition from Chinese traders because prices are also lower for them as well. And landlords in Accra's Central Business District aren't complaining either about the arrival of the Chinese given that rents have gone up.

Kwaku Dankwah, a Ph.D. candidate in the department politics and international relations at the University of Adelaide in Australia, studies the impact of the growing presence of Chinese merchants in Ghana and the reactions this new immigrant group provokes from consumers and business owners. Together with Marko Valenta from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he co-wrote a paper on the subject: "Chinese entrepreneurial migrants in Ghana: socioeconomic impacts and Ghanaian trader attitudes."

Kwaku joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why the Chinese merchant presence in Accra's Central Business District is both reviled and welcomed, sometimes even by the same people.


What do you think of Kwaku's assessment that the influx of Chinese business owners in places like Accra provides both opportunities and challenges for local competitors? Do you think Ghana should do more to encourage Chinese investors to migrate there or crack down and limit immigration? 

Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque | @kwaku_o_dankwah
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