Accepted Paper:

"The Bird that flies far away does not lack seed": The Congolese Transnational Traders and the Conquest of low-costs goods Markets in Guangzhou and Dubai  


Germain Ngoie Tshibambe (University of Lubumbashi)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims at grasping the profil of the Congolese transnational traders, the (in)visibility of the women among them and the impact of the flows of the goods imported on the local culture of consumption.

Paper long abstract:

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo to flow markets with kits of a new material modernity depends upon agency of trading businessmen/businesswomen who are to conquer, let us say to explore commercial places and cities as far away as Guangzhou and Dubai from which they can purchase goods of any sorts for retailing at home. This paper will analyze agency of Congolese transnational traders, those who are in move from two Congolese cities, Lubumbashi and Bukavu. These two cities contrast due to their political economy. Lubumbashi is a mining city, being far from conflict-torn milieu as is the case of Bukavu. The "tradescape" within these two cities gives importance to those businessmen/businesswomen who move and contrary to the saying, "a rolling stone gathers no moss" they are able to get benefits and they proceed to trading accumulation as they master "the way of doing things" (de Certeau) by "moving and making goods move"(Tarrius, 2001). They move themselves and they are able to purchase items there and to retail them here. In analyzing transnational traders' agency, this text explores three purposes: first, to understand the itineraries of these traders and the range of merchandises they bring back home; second the visibility or invisibility of women amidst the category of transnational traders and third the social and cultural impact of those flows of items imported on the local consumption culture. Data come from readings but mainly from field research with life stories and semi-structured interviews conducted in Lubumbashi and Bukavu.

Panel P128
The Rise of African Transnational Traders