Monday, October 26, 2015

Chinese Petty Traders In Nigeria (and a brief Yoruba lesson)

Chinese petty traders in Africa are always a fascinating subject - what drives a person to pick up and move to another country to try compete ferociously in a business with tiny profits? To help answer that question, hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah have invited to the pod Allen Xiao, a PhD student in Geography, with minor in African Studies, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was trained in anthropology in Hong Kong and his previous research focused on Chinese migration to Nigeria: he authored “In the Shadow of the States: The Informalities of Chinese Petty Entrepreneurship in Nigeria” which was published in the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs earlier this year. Now his interests lie in the making of multi-ethnic Lagos and shifting Yoruba identity, and to that end he has been learning Yoruba since 2014. Who are these Chinese petty traders in Nigeria and how do they fit into the Sino-Africa relationship?


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Ivory Queen?

On Wednesday October 7, 2015, Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese restaurant owner in Dar es Salaam station and vice-president and secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa business council, appeared in a Tanzanian court to be charged with smuggling ivory between 2000 and 2014. Media reports have dubbed her the "Ivory Queen" and the Elephant Action League, an American NGO, described her as “the most important ivory trafficker ever arrested in the country.” Host Winslow Robertson and new cohost Ms. Lina Benabdallah are joined by Hongxiang Huang, owner and manager of the China-Africa social enterprise China House and expert on China-Africa ivory smuggling issues, to look closer at this story. Did Yang Feng Glan fit the proverbial profile of a Chinese ivory smuggler in Africa?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clean cookstoves

Note: This episode was recorded last year and is missing some content. It has been uploaded as the podcast is relaunching.

Clean cookstoves are cooking instruments designed to save fuel, improve health, empower women, and protect the environment. They are rarely mentioned in the same breath as China-Africa relations, but in this episode, host Winslow Robertson has two clean cookstove experts connect the two topics. Jichong Wu, China Program Manager at the United Nations Foundation and Yiting Wang, Program Development Manager at WWF-China, both share their histories with clean cookstoves as well as explain how those stoves fit into the China-Africa relationship.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Are You a Chinese?

By Zander Rounds

“Are you a Chinese?”

After years in China, ineffectually trying to blur my gangly American edges and blend in, this is one question that I never really imagined I would receive.

And yet, on more than a few occasions since my arrival in Kenya a couple of weeks ago*, Kenyans have curiously posed precisely that: “Are you a Chinese?” Or the other day, while chatting with a Chinese colleague, our Kenyan waiter returned my change, looked me in the eye and un-ironically pronounced, “Xie xie” [Mandarin for ‘thank you’].

Admittedly, it’s the crew that I am now running with. China House (中南屋), a Nairobi-based collective of young Chinese movers and shakers, housed under a common vision of flourishing through collaboration and connection between Chinese and Africans. I am the newest (and most American) member of a team working to integrate two worlds that occupy the same physical universe yet are still often separate: the Kenyan community and the Chinese community residing in Kenya.