If you thought that stories of Chinese involvement in Africa were exaggerated, think again. A survey of the businesses in Gaborone – from car dealerships to apparel stores to restaurants even – reveals just how much the men and women from the East have established themselves on this continent.
The locals complain that the goods are of poor quality and all but they buy them nonetheless because they are far much cheaper than other locally made stuff or those imported from South Africa and elsewhere. Another complaint I have been hearing is that the Chinese are not really helping the economy – the local economy that is. “They keep to themselves and bring all they need. They even bring their own food,” one man told me. The general complaint is that the Chinese are simply siphoning profits back home and not reinvesting in the Botswana economy.
I haven’t had a chance to see the level of economic disparity among the Batswana – but from the little exposure I have had to the middle class here, I think I can safely say that they have it nice. Nicer than their counterparts in Kenya even. The government seems to be doing its job alright. Next week I shall be traveling to the desert regions of the North and West to see how life is in the rural areas.
Oops, I have to go now. I have become a football junkie and cannot afford to miss Germany-Portugal. Catch you guys later.