According to the BBC, up to three quarters of a million Chinese people are now living in Africa, either as temporary contract laborers or settling down and buying farms and shops:
They are part of
China`s bid to secure raw materials and markets for its manufactured goods, but they are also carving out their own opportunities.
The head of
China`s Export-Import Bank, Li Ruogu, recently suggested just how important Africacould be for ordinary Chinese people.
In a speech in
Chongqing, an administrative region with a large rural population, he urged Chinese farmers to move to Africa.
Chongqinghas a relatively strong agricultural base. Africahas many countries with plenty of land, but food output that is not up to expectations," he said, according to a local media report.
"There`s no harm in allowing [Chinese] farmers to leave the country to become farm owners [in
Africa]," he added.
Mr Li said the bank would fully support this migration with investment, project development and help with the sale of products.
But Chinese farmers have already started moving to Africa, according to Liu Jianjun of the China-Africa Business Council, which helps Chinese firms find business opportunities in
Mr Liu has personally sent several thousand Chinese people to Africa over the last few years from his home city of
Baodingin Hebei Provinceâ€¦.
Mr Alden says with so many poor farmers in
Chinaunable to make a living off the land, Africapresents a host of inviting opportunities.
"There`s not the sense that the streets are paved with gold but, for people who cannot find work,
Africais a realistic opportunity."
The post`s title is of course a reference to the famous phrase attributed to 19th Century newspaper editor Horace Greeley: "Go West, young man."