Chinese business is building in Africa

Chinese business is building in Africa

An estimated number of 1 million Chinese citizens have ventured to Africa over the past two decades to seek their fortune. The Chinese have built massive infrastructure projects, including dams, railways, ports and telecommunications networks. McKinsey estimates that Chinese investment in Africa will surpass the level of the U.S. within ten years.

It is not just large enterprises that do big business in countries such as Nigeria. McKinsey estimates there are more than 10,000 Chinese businesses operating in Africa, 90 percent of them privately owned. Thousands of these small entrepreneurs, involved in everything from retail and factories to farming, are having a big impact. Some of them are traders, buying and selling goods.

In Nigeria, for example, Chinese entrepreneurs buy Nigerian raw materials, such as timber and marble, which they then export to buyers in China or Europe in exchange for Chinese renminbi. Rings of Chinese money-changers specialize in matching those needing foreign currency with willing Chinese buyers of Nigerian imports.

Not all goes smoothly, OZY reports. There are cultural differences to overcome. Chinese entrepreneurs complain about the skill levels of Nigerian workers, the product of a state education system that has deteriorated over recent decades. Chinese businessmen also struggle with Nigeria’s bureaucratic gatekeepers for permits and licenses.

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