Mobility between Africa, Asia and Latin America: Economic Networks and Cultural Interactions (Introduction)


Ute Röschenthaler

Allesandro Jedlowski



  • ZED Books

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South–South connections between Africa and other regions of what has come to be known as the ‘global South’ have existed for centuries. Since the end of the Cold War, however, new patterns of South–South interaction have emerged. These patterns become visible on two levels. First, on the inter- or multinational level on which countries such as China, India and Brazil currently define emerging political, economic and cultural scenarios throughout the African continent (Carmody 2013; Taylor 2014). Secondly, on the individual level, the movement of people with their own private undertakings has increased significantly over the same period, particularly between Africa, Asia and Latin America. While these two levels are mutually intertwined, this volume focuses explicitly on the second level of individual undertakings, which has received insufficient scholarly attention to date.

Studies on globalization and South–South connections tend to focus on dominant forms of transnational interactions from a macro perspective (Brunet 2014; Cheru and Modi 2013; Huynh 2013; King 2013; Li Xing et al. 2013; Modi 2011a; Shinn and Eisenman 2012). Beyond the macro-narratives, a much less investigated universe of interactions, transactions and movements of people, objects, stories and ideas successfully proliferates. We argue that individuals rarely leave home with the objective of integrating into a foreign host society. Many move along with trade goods, powerful ideas and accumulated knowledge that they carry with them from Africa towards Asia and Latin America, and vice versa, to establish network-like connections. Similarly, individuals from Latin America and Asia have moved to Africa in the hope of finding suitable opportunities to establish a venture. Such movements in both directions have increased considerably since the 1990s.

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