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Miriam Driessen is an anthropologist by training. Her research focuses on migration in China and beyond. She is the author of Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness: Chinese Road Builders in Ethiopia (2019).

Africa Drifters

Increased mobility from China to Africa over the past two decades has given birth to the ‘Africa drifter’ ( 非漂 ). Employed and driven, yet restless and plagued by the lack of a sense of security, many Chinese who move to Africa for work, especially those attached to large-scale infrastructure projects, find themselves afloat—caught between remaining and returning. Why do Africa drifters wind up in this uncertain state? And how can we link this type of mobility to developments in China?

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Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness

A Conversation with Miriam Driessen

How is China’s success in Africa experienced by those who work on the Chinese-run construction sites that have emerged across the continent? In Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness (Hong Kong University Press 2019), Miriam Driessen follows the lives of Chinese road builders in Ethiopia to reveal the friction of Chinese-led development on the ground. […]

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