The Mutual Tensions of Chinese-Senegalese Relations in Senegal
At 2,000-strong, the population of Chinese immigrants in Senegal has become a visible presence in major urban areas like Dakar, though immigrants remain largely cloistered within enclaves. With commercial potential driving immigration into the country, Chinese people in Senegal have depended on an uneasy relationship with native Senegalese, a microcosm of a broader burgeoning relationship between China and African countries built on uncertain economic hopes. The New York Times profiles the Chinese community in Dakar and the state of Chinese-Senegalese relations in the country.
“Chinese Merchants Thrive in Senegal, Where People ‘Needed Stuff’” (The New York Times | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)
Aspirational emigration, not violence or economic destitution, is sending large numbers of Senegalese abroad in search of opportunity
- Senegal has seen a 123% emigration rate increase versus the same time period last year, with 1,187 leaving for destinations such as France (its former colonizer), Morocco, Latin America, and Turkey.
- Senegalese emigrants, who have at times outnumbered refugees from war-torn countries like Syria and Eritrea along Mediterranean migration routes, are leaving a politically stable, economically growing country that has seen great improvements in citizens’ standard of living.
- Remittances from abroad have comprised an increasing share of Senegal’s economy, allowing for the infrastructural improvements driving Senegal’s success.
“People don’t go because they have nothing, they go because they want better and more. It’s aspiration. …What is happening now is not that different from the time of slavery. We are losing the arms we need to build this country.”
More on this story at The Wall Street Journal.
(Image Credit: Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/The Wall Street Journal)