Made in China, Sold in West Africa

Ferry across the Senegal River, between Mauritanian Rosso and Senegalese Rosso / © Anne Bouhali, Nora Mareï and Mamadou Dimé, 2017


Retrouvez la  traduction en anglais de l’article issu d’un terrain partagé au Rosso, “Sur les routes et marchés ouest-africains. Les circulations transnationales du made in China” par Anne Bouhali & Nora Mareï & Mamadou Dimé paru dans la revue Métropolitiques.

From a small border post between Senegal and Mauritania, Anne Bouahli, Nora Mareï and Mamadou Dimé follow the journey of goods from Europe and China, as well as locally produced merchandise, with a view to examining and analyzing the different forms that globalization is taking in these little-studied areas.  
Along the Tangier–Nouakchott–Dakar coastal corridor, the Rosso crossing on the Senegal River is both a border and a discontinuity in terms of transit. As the missing link in the interconnection of road networks between Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, it is a discreet observatory of mobility and traffic flows between the three neighboring countries. On either side of the river, connected by a small ferry, two cities face each other: Mauritanian Rosso, with a population of about 33,000 in 2013, looks across from the northern shore to Senegalese Rosso, which has around 10,000 inhabitants. The latter is the second-busiest gateway into Senegal in terms of traveler numbers, after Dakar International Airport. Our aim is to understand the role of this nodal point between the Maghreb and West Africa, at a time when Morocco is increasingly turning economically and diplomatically towards its sub‑Saharan neighbors (Mareï 2017; Daviet 2013; Wippel 2004). From this point of view, Rosso can be considered a crossroads of trade routes between West Africa and Morocco, just as the latter has begun its process of accession to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), after rejoining the African Union in early 2017. Situated at the midpoint between formal and informal flows, between local goods and goods made in China, between international transporters and small “businessmen,” the Rosso border crossing [1] is one of these “discreet spaces” (Choplin and Pliez 2018) that allows us to understand how globalization and regionalization shape territories, from their borders to transnational spaces. Following the road out of Rosso (Choplin and Lombard 2010) takes us to the markets of Dakar and Nouakchott, in search of products and traders encountered around the river.

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