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Drivers of change or cut-throat competitors? Challenging Cultures of Innovation of Chinese and Nigerian migrant entrepreneurs in West Africa

  • Kohnert, Dirk

The remarkable influx of Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in different West African countries in recent years has been met with growing resistance by established local entrepreneurs. Whether the former have a competitive edge over the latter because of distinctive socio-cultural traits, or whether the Chinese supposed effectiveness is just a characteristic feature of any trading Diaspora, is open to question. This exploratory study of Chinese and Nigerian entrepreneurial migrants in Ghana and Benin tries to answer this question. Apparently, the cultural motive powers of migrant drivers of change are not restricted to inherited value systems or religions like a protestant ethic or Confucianism, but they are permanently adapted and invented anew by transnational networks of migration in a globalized world. There is no evidence for a supposed superiority of Chinese versus African innovative cultures of entrepreneurial migrants. Rather there exists an enhanced innovative capacity of a trading Diaspora in general vis-à-vis local entrepreneurs, regardless of the background national culture in which it is embedded. In addition, the rivalry of Chinese and Nigerian migrant entrepreneurs in African markets does not necessarily lead to the often suspected cut-throat competition under the impact of globalization. Often both groups act rather complementary. This contributes under certain conditions even to poverty alleviation in the host country.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23132.

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Date of creation: 08 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23132
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  1. Aleksandra W. Gadzala, 2010. "From formal- to informal-sector employment: examining the Chinese presence in Zambia," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(123), pages 41-59, March.
  2. Dirk Kohnert, 2006. "Cultures of Innovation of the African Poor. Common Roots, Shared Traits, Joint Prospects? On the Articulation of Multiple Modernities in African Societies and Black Diasporas in Latin America," GIGA Working Paper Series 25, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  3. Giles Mohan & May Tan-Mullins, 2009. "Chinese Migrants in Africa as New Agents of Development? An Analytical Framework," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(4), pages 588-605, September.
  4. Kohnert, Dirk, 2007. "On the Renaissance of African Modes of Thought - The Example of the Belief in Magic and Witchcraft," MPRA Paper 7019, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Stephen Marglin, 2009. "The Culture of Economics," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(3), pages 292-297, September.
  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. Jing Gu, 2009. "China's Private Enterprises in Africa and the Implications for African Development," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(4), pages 570-587, September.
  8. Kate Meagher, 2009. "Trading on faith: religious movements and informal economic governance in Nigeria," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27366, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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