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Negotiating profits and fakeness: the China-Nigeria trade in pharmaceuticals

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Publication details

JournalPolitique africaine
DatePublished - 2014
Issue number134
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)89-110
Original languageEnglish


This article examines the China-Nigeria trade in pharmaceutical drugs. It assesses the work of traders along the supply chains originating in Chinese production sites and ending in Nigeria’s drug markets. It explores the great variety of actors and their different relations to producers, intermediaries and the state. While ethnicity and nationality play an important role in these supply chains, it is argued that the trade cannot be fully understood through an ethnic lens. Moreover, the article highlights the physical points of interaction between traders and the state and how they are negotiable, as well as attempts of traders to define the legality of their work and the ‘fakeness’ of Chinese drugs. Thus, traders do not only negotiate the profits they make but also the quality and legality of their products.

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