As an ageing, increasingly poor Europe
is becoming an impenetrable fortress… …superpower China opens its borders. The result: Young African migrants
change course to China. Experts believe this is leading
to a new economic world order… …whereby the West will lose out. This will have catastrophic effects
on our economies. This is what’s in store for you. We can make 5,000 dollars in a week,
or two weeks. It depends. God bless me here. God bless me. I believe that this country, China,
is the promised land for me. Why is Europe unable to understand… …that the world we live in
is a totally different world. That the future of the world,
more and more… …won’t be decided in the West. This is Backlight : Welcome to a
new economic world order. Guangzhou: a city
with a population of 15 million. Since its origin it’s been the strongest
driver of the Chinese economy. Since early this century we’ve seen an
increasing flow of African immigrants. Many of them have roamed the world
and now seek their fortune in China. They are leading a changing balance
of the world economy… …with far-reaching consequences
for the West. Backlight went to visit ‘Nigeria Town’,
in Guangzhou. Now home to over a quarter
of a million Africans. I have been to many countries.
This is not my first country. This is the fifth place I’ve been. I have been to France.
I have been to Vietnam. I have been to South Korea. I have been to Hong Kong. I have been to Macau. I’ve been to Singapore. My own view: China is leading.
It’s number one in the world. As far as this world is concerned,
China is leading. I was travelling to Portugal,
I was travelling to Brazil. But I was checking the clothes. I saw that most of them came
from China: ‘Made in China’. I said: How come? I’m in Brazil. Why not ‘Made in Brazil’? So I said: OK. What am I going to do in Europe… …when everything is happening China? I’m better off going straight to China. Why I came to Guangzhou… …is because of weather.
It’s not as cold… …as other cities in China. And there are a lot of other
Nigerians from my tribe, Igbos. We have become a collective
and we do business together. Because one man alone wouldn’t be able
to survive here on his own. So before I came here I contacted
a friend who came here before me. He told me how to go about
moving to China. With the help from my relatives
I saved the money to come here… …and start a business and a life here. When I was in Nigeria,
I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have a wife or a child. I was trying to make some money,
which wasn’t easy. When I got my visa to come to China… …I was surprised:
I started a business with 100 dollars. Only 100 dollars. And I’ve made almost
20,000 dollars with it. Because of that,
I have now got a house in Nigeria. I’ve got a wife and two kids and we’re
expecting the third one very soon. So God bless me here.
God bless me. To me, China is the promised land. Ian Goldin,
originally from South Africa… …was once economic advisor
to Nelson Mandela… …and Vice President of the World Bank. He now lectures in Globalization
and Development at Oxford University. He’s also the Director
of the Oxford Martin School: A think tank focused on
the big problems of the future. Right now, China is leading.
The economy is booming. I was surprised to meet someone
from Madagascar in China. You can imagine,
looking at the map of Africa… …Madagascar is way down there,
just a little island. I was surprised they were here. I met a Libyan man in China. It seems impossible for a Libyan man
to be in China, but they’re here. Why? Because the economy
is booming. We’re shipping the goods today.
That’s what I was told. We haven’t got the money yet
but we’re shipping them anyway. It’s about the air cons
in different colours. We’re adding another ten.
The other shipment is two times ten. The Chinese culture is quite different
from the Nigerian culture… …and from yours. But because we are here
in their country… …there’s nothing you can do,
you have to adapt. There’s nothing they can do. Whether their culture is good or bad,
I don’t focus on that. What I focus on is what we produce
or the business I do with them. That’s what’s most important to me. That is it. OK. It’s on the way? We’re putting it in the container now.
Shipping will take ten days. I’ll let you know when you’ll get it. Mobile phone accessories… …like iPazz, iSee, screens. Earphones you can use
to listen to MP3s. I also trade in car parts. Repair kits for Toyota, Nissan
and Mercedes Benz. What you’re getting isn’t illegal.
It’s car parts. I’m going to sort it out now.
I don’t have much phone credit… …but you’ll get it in ten days. DVD player parts, TV parts and so on. You will receive your goods in Lagos.
Do you understand? OK, do the best you can. God bless you. Bye. Clearly, China has a project… …to become a major,
maybe even the biggest world player. In order to achieve this position… …it needs to access
whatever resources… …are necessary
to build up its military, economic… …and, to a lesser extent, cultural power. And Africa holds a strategic role… …in China’s process of rising to power. Achille Mbembe is a philosopher
and political scientist. He obtained his PhD
at the Sorbonne, in Paris. He is now a lecturer in South Africa. He is author of On the Postcolony… …about the new relationship
between Europe and Africa. The Chinese have shown… …that apart from the West
they have the best expertise… …in terms of how to get out of poverty. The West has a lot of expertise in terms
of how to get out of poverty in the West. I’m not sure that expertise
can be exported wholesale. Since the years of colonialism we
haven’t seen it produce any major effect. So there is something in
the Chinese model that speaks to us. And that needs to be explored carefully… …in terms of how to create
a better life for people. Most of my customers come
from the eastern part of Africa. They come to China for business. I will help them get what they need… …at a better price
and with better service. So that they can do business
in this country… …and have better chances
on the market. Now, Africa is a developing country. They’re still like what China was like
thirty years ago. Africans come to China
because the visa is very easy to get. Africans are very important to China. Hello, what is the dollar
exchange rate today? 6.31? Is it not 6.33? It’s 6.31.
– 6… 25 boxes? 25 times 80…
That’s 2,000 pieces. The first thing I learned
was the language. It was different. It’s not easy, moving
to a foreign country or a new place. With the help of the Chinese friends
I was able to make… …I’m putting in more effort
to learn the language. It’s very important for me
to communicate. I have an appointment.
– He’ll be right here. Does he know that you…
– He knows who I am. A foreigner. We’ve had a lot of foreigners in today. Hello. Long time no see. The big screen at the hotel. I can’t connect it. How do I connect it? We want to put some text on it. One or two colours? Tembis Hotel. There’s no output,
so I can’t connect it to anything. We can’t hook it up. Your computer has an input… You need to show me. I can’t do it. I’m sure you can. You plug this cable into the screen. Is it a power cable? I plug this into the computer? There’s an input on your computer. No, there isn’t. Hello, how are you? Good to meet you.
– Nice of you to come by. I arrived in Guangzhou yesterday. Have a seat. Can I get you some water?
– Oh yes. There are so many differences… …between the way the Chinese think
and the way Nigerians think. Especially the black colour. When they see you… I’ve had
students come up to me and say: ‘Why are you so black? Why?
Do you never have a bath?’ I tell them I have a bath every day. Sometimes the Chinese will come up
to you and take your hand… Like they want to see if it will peel off. It’s very challenging, you know. But it’s not really a problem for me,
because I know I am who I am. I’m an African. God created me like this. Can you show me which ones are
100 percent human hair? This is human hair…
– You know, in my country… …they can easily tell if it’s
100 percent human hair or not. I sell beauty products. Women are very much into beauty,
especially Africans. Because of the nature of their hair… …because it’s not straight,
they can’t grow it very long. So they need to find ways
to make their hair look better. They can change the way they look,
and make themselves more beautiful. When I came here, I came to Beijing.
That was where I landed. When I landed in Beijing, the Chinese
people were looking at me. Up to then they hadn’t
seen a lot of blacks. Maybe they’d seen blacks on TV,
playing basketball or something. So at the time there were some
black people, but not very many. So from there I took a train to
Guangzhou, and stayed with my brother. Now things have changed. Now, many Chinese people know
that blacks exist. It’s not like before. They have relationships with blacks now. Most of the Africans marry Chinese,
and so on and so forth. I really don’t think… …I can stay in China for a long time. Or settle down here. One: I could never
marry a Chinese person. If I were to marry a Chinese man,
I could stay here a long time. Twenty years, thirty years.
If I got married here. But I don’t think I can.
So in that sense, no. Right now I’m not planning
to go back to Nigeria. So I think I should bring my wife here,
because she misses me a lot. Whenever I call her, she complains a lot. ‘Daddy, I miss you. You left me here.
I’m crying, this and that.’ I think the best thing would be
to bring my wife here. Because it’s good to live with your wife. So you can plan your future
and have children. It won’t be difficult.
Once I have the money… …I can go to the embassy
and apply for an invitation letter. It’s not hard. If you follow the procedure,
they will give you the visa. My last trip to China was two years ago.
I went to Shanghai. I went to the Chinese
consulate in Johannesburg. And being granted a visa
was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was completely astonished.
I got a visa in one day. I filled in a one-page form. They didn’t want to know
who my father and mother were… …almost nothing about
where I was born. They hardly asked me
whether I had any money. They wanted to know whether
I wanted to pay 50 euro… …in which case I would have
had the visa the same day. If I paid 25 euro it would take
maybe two days. That was it. The conditions of access for Europe
are not the same, of course. Europe has become, as we all know,
a fortress. They live under the illusion… …that you can have a community
without foreigners. It is inhabited in its very soul
by a strong desire for apartheid… …separateness. All of that is known. It doesn’t seem to me
that it’s like that in China. So of course migratory circuits in Africa… …have been more or less reoriented. They are moving towards the East,
to China… …and less and less people
are going to Europe… …in spite of the hysteria
about African immigration in Europe. If you want to go to Europe or the US,
there are procedures. It’s so difficult
to get the right documents. It’s not easy. But in China, the minute
you get your passport… When we came, we showed our
passport and an invitation letter. Now, if you bring your passport… Even if
you don’t want to go to the Embassy. If you meet an Nigerian agent
and agree about the money… …if you settle the payment with him… …you’ll just get a visa. So it’s quite easy. In Europe or the US you can’t get
your documents through an agent. You have to apply in person. But in China, and Chinese embassies,
it’s not like that. You can go yourself
or get an agent to apply for you. How are you?
– I’ve come to take a look. What sort of food do you have?
Something mild? No, but we do have rice.
– Just rice? With palm oil sauce. Have you got egusi ?
Or bitterleaf sauce? No? No bitterleaf sauce? No, just palm oil sauce.
– OK. I’ll order palm oil sauce. Are you here on business? No, I live here. But are you in Guangzhou for business?
– No. I heard about this place,
so I’ve come to check it out. To see what I can eat. Because I
heard one of us had a restaurant here. Everything we sell here, is authentic. The food here is authentic. What I want with this restaurant is
to present a good image of Africa. When we go to Europe,
we encounter the problems with a visa. It takes a long time to get a visa. Because it takes a long time,
it’s bad for business. So we start looking at other countries,
like Japan. When getting a visa for Japan starts
to get difficult, we move to Taiwan. Then from Taiwan to Hong Kong,
and from Hong Kong to China. When I sell goods to Nigeria… …some of the profit
I send to my mother. I say: Take 100,000. Because it doesn’t make sense to send
a thousand dollars to Nigeria. You can buy the goods here
which you can sell there with a profit. On goods worth a thousand dollars
you can make 300 dollars profit a piece. So when you send the goods… …and you have that 300 dollars
and add another hundred dollars.. …that’s 400 dollars for your mother. But if you send 1,000 dollars,
you don’t make a profit. You can make 5,000 dollars
in a week or two. It depends. Sometimes a business
connection comes to you… …or a customer who wants
to order an item. They want to buy one or two containers.
It depends on the business you get. You can make ten thousand
dollars a month. Or even in a week, or two, it depends.
It’s not definite. Not everyone makes that kind of money. It depends. Every day the local Nigerian traders… …resident in China… …don’t take their cash to the bank… …but the cash goes to the airport. Every day, by hand. People need cash every day. And people move goods
to Africa every day, by air. So you need to move cash
and goods by air every day. Steady business. But if there is any blockage,
where the cash cannot move… …then the product cannot move. Every day Nigerian citizens… …send 20 to 30 million dollars
home in cash. How are you?
– I’m fine, how are you? OK.
– We hope it will be more than OK. That would be great. We’ll have to have faith in God. Have you opened a shop?
– Yes, that’s my shop. God will bless us today. Yes, God will help us. How is your son?
– Yes, he is OK. Thank God. Why is Europe unable to understand… …that the world we live in
is a totally different world? That the future of the world won’t be
decided by the West anymore. That the centre of the world has
been displaced, it’s somewhere else. Why is Europe having difficulty
coming to terms with that? There are numerous explanations. The embrace by Western and
some non-Western countries… …of the doctrine of globalisation… …of a free flow of goods… …most of the time at the expense
of the free flow of people… …has a number of consequences. One of them is the fact that… …our world is more and more divided
between those who can move… …and those who cannot move… …or can only do so under
ever more drastic conditions. A phenomenon that in turn leads to… …the militarization of boundaries… …and the fact that borders
have become… …somewhat understood,
not only in police terms… …but also as war zones… …where a war against foreigners
is conducted. And all of this is translated
into new juridical norms… …which fundamentally contradict
the democratic ideals… …Western countries
pretend to be premised upon. During the time of Europe and America… …things only happened
between governments. Not individually. But in China today, you can be in China,
doing business, doing very well. You can have a contract with a Chinese
factory or company… …and go back to Africa and invest.
So that’s quite different. Ditu? Tony speaking. I’m calling to ask what you’re doing. I need four containers. For the goods. The car parts.
Then I know what I need to do. He told me he was going to transfer
the money for the goods. I want this to be arranged properly. I want to start a business
in my own town after this transaction. That’s what I want to do. Yes, ten million naira. Yes, he had… …sent ten million. The decoration has to be uniform.
You understand? So there are no differences
in design or colour. It has to be one colour. So it looks beautiful. You have a very good kitchen
in that one restaurant. That cook is very good. A good man. The Chinese guy?
– Yes. If one person…
I don’t know how to say this. If one person has a lot of money,
that will cause many problems. You should share your profit,
and everybody will be happy. Then business will continue to boom. The only thing the Chinese care about… …is money. They love it. The stage is being set… …for a new map of the world… …in which we have on the one hand… …the West, where… …which is basically a dormant,
complacent, and nostalgic society… …worried about what it used to be… …and not really knowing
where it wants to go. And, I would say,
the dynamic regions of the world: China of course, India, Brazil,
Africa, for that matter… …soon more than a billion people,
people in motion… …the emergence of new societies. I have been to France. I have been to Vietnam. First, I went to Japan. I travelled to Portugal, to Brazil. I have been to South Korea. I moved to Taiwan. I have been to Hong Kong. I have been to Macau. Then from Taiwan to Hong Kong. I have been to Singapore. From Hong Kong to China.