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The impact of Chinese business on market entry in Ghana and Senegal

[journal article]

Marfaing, Laurence; Thiel, Alena

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-428728

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Abstract In this article we analyse the currently observable changes in the norms and orders that regulate market entry in the Ghanaian and Senegalese trade sectors. We portray the three distinct ways in which – facilitated by the presence of independent Chinese migrants – previously excluded actors are now able to enter the market, without needing to rely on the networks that typically mediate access to start-up capital needs – such as selling space, marketing skills and, not least, capital stock. Creatively appropriating the new situation, these previously excluded actors have thus found in the Chinese presence a means of bypassing restrictive economic, social and religious networks. In-depth ethnographic fieldwork in 2011 and 2012 has revealed that while aspiring traders from Ghana and Senegal applaud the newly opened pathways to gainful economic activity, more established local merchants in the urban centres of both countries feel and express, in contrast, a discontent with the growing Chinese presence – as they see their role as gatekeepers of the market order being increasingly undermined.

Nous observons tant au Sénégal qu'au Ghana des changements dans les normes d'accès au commerce ainsi que dans l'ordre établi qui régule le marché. Effectivement, la présence des migrants chinois à Dakar et Accra permet à de nouveaux acteurs – de facto exclus des réseaux religieux, sociaux et économiques en place qui permettent formation, accès au marché et au capital et finalement au commerce – de contourner les normes d'accès au commerce en tirant judicieusement tirer parti de la présence chinoise. Un travail de terrain effectué en 2011 et 2012 nous a permis de constater comment ces nouveaux "commerçants" ont le don de tirer parti des activités commerciales chinoises et neutralisent par là le rôle des opérateurs économiques établis et l'ordre d'accès au marché qu'ils se transmettent. L'objectif de cet article est d'en présenter et d'en analyser les comportements novateurs, les stratégies utilisées, nous en distinguons trois, et d'en montrer les conséquences au niveau de l'ordre établi, tant commercial que social.
Keywords Ghana; Senegal; opening up of markets; entrepreneur; Chinese; commerce; interaction; network; economic development (on national level); West Africa; developing country
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology; Sociology of Economics
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 646-669
Journal Africa : Journal of the International African Institute, 83 (2013) 04
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0001972013000491
ISSN 1750-0184
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.