Thousands of Chinese migrants who settled in Africa over the past ten years now face mounting uncertainty as economic growth slows across the continent and back home in China. While there are no reliable estimates as to how many Chinese migrants there are in Africa, experts believe the population to be somewhere between one and two million people.
The Chinese expatriate and immigrant communities in Africa are extremely diverse, and for a certain slice of that community the new, grim economic realities pose real challenges. Many are either too poor or too financially invested in Africa to go anywhere else.
Dr. Yoon June Park is one of the world’s leading experts on Chinese migration in Africa. Dr. Park is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the African studies department at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She joins Eric & Cobus to discuss what impact the slowing global economy will have on China’s migrant population in Africa.
- Quartz: Why 1 million Chinese migrants are building a new empire in Africa by Howard W. French.
- BBC News: Can Chinese migrants integrate in Africa? by Karen Allen
- University of Nottingham: 10 questions about migration between China and Africa by Dr. Li Anshan
Dr. Yoon Jung Park is one of the leading researchers in the subfield of China/Africa studies. Her work primarily focuses on Chinese migrants in Africa, African perceptions of and responses to the new Chinese migrants, and preliminary impacts of these migrant communities, particularly in South Africa.
She is currently a freelance researcher with affiliations at the Sociology Department at Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) and African Studies at Georgetown University (Washington, DC). She has also taught at the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, American University and Howard University.
Born in Seoul, Park grew up in Los Angeles, and lived in Africa (Johannesburg & Nairobi) from 1995-2010. She has also lived briefly in Cuernavaca, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Boston. In addition to English, she speaks fluent Spanish, kitchen Korean, and smatterings of KiSwahili and IsiZulu.