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Has Mercantilism Reduced Urban Poverty in SSA? Perception of Boom, Bust, and the China-Africa Trade in Lomé and Bamako

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  • Lyons, Michal
  • Brown, Alison
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    Abstract

    Summary This paper addresses the immediate impacts of the China-Africa trade on Africa's informal traders and its longer term impact on urban poverty, based on a comparison of the major cities of two West African countries and drawing on semi-structured interviews with traders and on schedule-based interviews with key informants in government, business and the informal trade sector. The findings are that the increase in imports from China initially broadened access to trading for the poor, creating short-term improvements in livelihoods, but competition is driving down profit margins, and restricting the trade to a survival mechanism for many today. Thus it has provided limited long-term potential as an economic platform for national development and poverty reduction. The findings are discussed in terms of structuration theory and in terms of alternative conceptualizations of informal trade in Africa.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 771-782

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:5:p:771-782

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

    Related research

    Keywords: sub-Saharan Africa togo mali informal economy China-Africa;

    References

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    1. Marcel Fafchamps & Eleni Gabre-Madhin & Bart Minten, 2004. "Increasing Returns and Market Efficiency in Agricultural Trade," Development and Comp Systems 0409020, EconWPA.
    2. Cohen, Barney, 2004. "Urban Growth in Developing Countries: A Review of Current Trends and a Caution Regarding Existing Forecasts," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 23-51, January.
    3. Krishna B. Kumar & John G. Matsusaka, 2004. "Village versus Market Social Capital: An Approach to Development," Development and Comp Systems 0408003, EconWPA.
    4. Carr, Marilyn & Chen, Martha Alter, 2002. "Globalization and the informal economy : how global trade and investment impact on the working poor," ILO Working Papers 354172, International Labour Organization.
    5. Rachel Poole & Graham P Clarke & David B Clarke, 2006. "Competition and saturation in West European grocery retailing," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(11), pages 2129-2156, November.
    6. Andrea Goldstein & Nicolas Pinaud & Helmut Reisen, 2006. "The Rise of China and India: What's in it for Africa?," OECD Development Centre Policy Insights 19, OECD Publishing.
    7. Carr, Marilyn & Chen, Martha, 2004. "Globalization, social exclusion and work : with special reference to informal employment and gender," ILO Working Papers 369851, International Labour Organization.
    8. Kaplinsky, Raphael & Morris, Mike & Readman, Jeff, 2002. "The Globalization of Product Markets and Immiserizing Growth: Lessons From the South African Furniture Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
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