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With Inventories of Chinese-made Products Running Low Across Africa, Shop Owners Wonder What’s Next

Vendors sit in front of their shop in the deserted China Commercial City shopping center, popularly called "China Town", in Ojota in Lagos on February 27, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

China-Africa trade has essentially come to a halt due to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak around the world, adding new pressure on small business owners across Africa who make a living selling imported Chinese goods. Now with inventories running low, shopowners are wondering how they’re going to replenish stock, with everything from toys to tech items stuck back in China where fewer than half the country’s factories are up and running again.

The supply constraints are also adversely impacting shoppers who have become accustomed to the easy availability of affordable Chinese consumer goods. With supplies of a huge range of products now running increasingly low, prices are rising fast.

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What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


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