American cars in Cotonou: culture in African entrepreneurship and the making of a globalising trade

American cars in Cotonou: culture in African entrepreneurship and the making of a globalising trade

Author: 
Beuving, Joost
Publisher: 
Cambridge University Press
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Modern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 53, No. 3, September 2015, pp. 317-338
Abstract: 

Traders in Cotonou (Bénin), a prominent hub in the Euro–West African second-hand car trade, traditionally sold cars imported from Europe. Since the 2000s however, more and more cars are being imported from the US. Anthropological study of one group of entrepreneurs active in this new business, traders from Niger, reveals an African entrepreneurship at work that follows a distinct social pattern: traders are groomed in close kinship ties in West Africa and then develop new social ties with overseas migrants. Their trade thus becomes embedded in more globalised networks, yet at the same time it loosens and that works against profitable business. Close analysis of their careers reveals a cultural pattern that compels entrepreneurs to become traders, economic opportunity notwithstanding. Whether this is representative of Africa's changing place in the global economic order remains to be seen; however, this article suggests how culture in entrepreneurship may be key to understanding that.

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CITATION: Beuving, Joost. American cars in Cotonou: culture in African entrepreneurship and the making of a globalising trade . : Cambridge University Press , 2015. Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 53, No. 3, September 2015, pp. 317-338 - Available at: http://library.au.int/american-cars-cotonou-culture-african-entrepreneurship-and-making-globalising-trade-2