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Discrimination, Despoliation and Irreconcilable Difference: Host-Immigrant Tensions in Brazzaville, Congo

Authors
Disciplines
  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science

Abstract

For generations, immigrants from other African countries have comprised a significant minority of residents in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. These immigrants constitute several distinct “stranger” populations within Congolese society. While they play a significant role in the Congolese economy, they also encounter discrimination in their daily lives and face hostility from indigenous Congolese. Popular discourses in Brazzaville widely represent African foreigners as a malevolent presence and a threat to Congolese interests. Such discourses fit into broader conflicts over identity, belonging, and access to resources on the continent. This paper, based on ethnographic and survey research carried out in Brazzaville, examines the case of that city’s immigrants from the West African Sahel. It situates tensions between them and their hosts in the context of contemporary political and economic dynamics in post-colonial Congo, and specifically links them to exclusionary place-based identity as a political force in contemporary Africa.

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