China's Second Continent - How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa
- United States
More informationAn exciting, hugely revealing account of China's burgeoning presence in Africa-a developing empire already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people.
A prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, Howard French is uniquely positioned to tell the story of China in Africa. Through meticulous on-the-ground reporting-conducted in Mandarin, French, and Portuguese, among other languages-French crafts a layered investigation of astonishing depth and breadth as he engages not only with policy-shaping moguls and diplomats, but also with the ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity forged by this seismic geopolitical development. With incisiveness and empathy, French reveals the human face of China's economic, political, and human presence across the African continent-and in doing so reveals what is at stake for everyone involved.
We meet a broad spectrum of China's dogged emigrant population, from those singlehandedly reshaping African infrastructure, commerce, and even environment to those just barely scraping by, still convinced that Africa affords them better opportunities than their homeland. And we encounter an equally panoramic array of African responses: a citizens' backlash in Senegal against a "Trojan horse" Chinese construction project; a Zambian political candidate who, having protested China's intrusiveness during the previous election and lost, now turns accommodating; the ascendant middle class of an industrial boomtown; African mine workers bitterly condemning their foreign employers, citing inadequate safety precautions and wages a fraction of their immigrant counterparts'.
French's nuanced portraits reveal the paradigms forming around this new world order, from the all-too-familiar echoes of colonial ambition-exploitation of resources and labor; cut-rate infrastructure projects; dubious treaties-to new frontiers of cultural and economic excha