Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population

A China in Africa Podcast

The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held, stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn't small or isolated. In fact, the Chinese population on the island has grown five-fold over the past decade to an estimated 100,000 people, making it the third-largest Chinese community in all of Africa.

While many Chinese immigrants in the rest of Africa are new to the region, that is not the case in Madagascar. The first wave of Chinese migration to the island dates back to the early 1800s. Whereas Chinese migrants elsewhere in Africa are often viewed quite poorly by the local population, in Madagascar the older generation of Chinese migrants is regarded as among the most popular of the island’s various ethnic minorities.

Beijing-based Sino-Malagasy expert Cornelia Tremann joins Eric and Cobus to discuss one of the most fascinating Chinese engagements anywhere in Africa.