Transnational Traders on the Margins of the Law

Janet MacGaffey, Remy Bazenguissa-Ganga


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James Currey



Examines aspects of the informal economy operating between Central Africa and Paris and its role in the identity of the traders involved.
This study of transnational trade between Central Africa and Europe focuses on the lives of individual traders from Kinshasa and Brazzaville who operate across national frontiers and often outside state laws.
Excluded from other social and economic opportunities, participation by traders in this international second economy challenges and resists the constraints on their lives in both Africa and Europe. Their trading activities are unmeasured, unrecorded, often outside or on the margins of the law, and are sustained by complex networks through which their commodities are circulated.
Who are these traders? What strategies do they have, not only to survive but to shine? What kind of networks do they rely on? And what implications does their trade have for globalization? The authors consider these and other questions in this study.

Published in association with the International African Institute
North America: Indiana U Press


January 2000
208 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
African Issues
ISBN: 9780852552605
Format: Paperback
James Currey
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Congo-Paris is another book in the impressive African Issues series, and it combines the high standards and frank realities that have characterised the series...a meticulous and illuminating empirical case-study, based on a thorough set of research methods. - Khalid Koser in JOURNAL OF ETHNIC & MIGRATION STUDIES
This fascinating book explores a neglected topic in African studies: petty transnational illegal trade between central Africa and Europe. Congo-Paris is unusual in at least three ways. First, it is concerned with the informal sector, focused as it is on the commercial activities of young traders who seek their 'fortune' by setting up links between France and Africa. Second, it discusses in some detail the question of African identity as it evolves in the course of such a long bi-continental roving existence. Finally, it examines the relationship between seemingly insignificant trading activities and the evolution of globalization - as it applies to Africa ... based on a relatively new form of anthropological research... - Patrick Chabal in INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS impressive illustration of the vigour of coping in the most daunting conditions of economic and political collapse - Nigel Harris in DEVELOPMENT POLICY REVIEW
...intriguing book... AFRICAN BUSINESS
The strength of the work is in ethnographic detail and argument. ASAAP

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