Author: Deborah Bräutigam.
Chinese business networks form an important (and well‐studied) component of transnational industrial capitalism in East and South‐east Asia. Yet almost no attention has been paid to the dynamics of the growing role of Chinese networks as catalysts for industrial development in sub‐Saharan Africa. This article explores two contrasting cases, in Mauritius and in Nigeria. In a hostile or indifferent policy environment such as that of Nigeria, and in a locale where there were no resident overseas Chinese, the Asia‐Africa linkages remained limited to information, input supply, consulting services, and technical assistance. In contrast, in the encouraging policy environment of Mauritius, which also had a sizeable overseas Chinese population, transnational Asian capitalists created strong connections with local capital (Asian and other), invested in joint ventures, and formed part of a successful export‐oriented industrialization. These cases suggest that, as Asian business networks expand their global reach to sub‐Saharan Africa, they can provide an important catalyst for local industrialization.