Africa’s Emigrants Turn Eastward

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Africa's Emigrants Turn Eastward
Africans learn kung fu at Shaolin Temple

AFRICANGLOBE – Higher economic growth does not mean that people will stay put, and many Africans in search of opportunities now head to Asia.

These migration flows are giving birth to new cultural projects and partnerships. Malian Musbaba Moussa Traore is melding West African and Vietnamese music, combining traditional instruments from his home country and the Southeast Asian country.

In China, Cameroonian Francis Tchiégué is regularly featured on television singing Chinese opera songs after arriving in China without knowing how to say ‘ni hao’ (hello).

Not all the exchanges are positive, though.

The Nigerian ambassador to Thailand said in 2013 that 20% of the Nigerian population in the country was in prison on drug-related charges.

In the Delhi metro in September 2014, three African students were beaten and videotaped by members of an angry mob, supposedly for hitting on an Indian woman.

With ageing populations in China and Japan, both countries will have growing demands for labour.

However, both governments operate restrictive immigration policies that make it unlikely that there will be new and very large influxes of African workers over the next decade.

Nonetheless, migration flows are set to continue growing steadily as Asian governments continue to make people-to-people exchanges a centrepiece of their diplomacy in Africa.

As Asian universities continue to improve their quality and attract international students, schools from Jakarta to Shanghai will remain attractive for those looking to gain experience abroad.

Some Chinese low-cost manufacturers are already scouting the next destination for cheaper production, and African traders are set to follow them wherever they may go.


By: Marshall Van Valen