Wednesday, September 30, 2009

African Businessmen

France has tight relations with Africa. Partly for historical reasons (a lot of African countries are former French colonies), partly for business reasons (some African countries have natural resources that we care for...). That is why you find a lot of Africans in Paris and why we encourage trade between our two countries. Hence this "Malian feast of tourism and craft" ((here is an example) that is currently taking place in the Paris Chamber of Commerce in front of which I took this photo. I love African outfits! BTW, talking about trade, do you know a site called Kiva that allows you to help small businesses. I just found out about it yesterday and I think it's a brilliant idea.


  1. This is striking, this image, in black & white Eric. I like the outfits too! Is Africa therefore your next destination for a holiday?

  2. I was born in Morocco to American parents and I care about Morocco's trade relations with other countries. It is wonderful that the former colonies of France are on friendly terms with the Republic.
    Kiva sounds like an excellent idea!

  3. I wish this picture was in color. When I think of Africa, I think of color for some reason. I have this picture in my mind of many men, women and children wearing colorful outfits (although the guy in the picture seem to be wearing just white)

  4. The detailing's quite beautiful ~ the scalloped sleeve and self-patterned fabric. I've heard of Kiva ~ what a marvellous concept!

  5. Wren, relations between France and its former colonies are not so "friendly" and "wonderful...
    It's more complicated than that... A sort of "love-hate" relation...

  6. Thib, I guess the 'love' is more political and the 'hate' is more personal. People don't mind the food and products from Africa but they don't want the people? I had heard of the 'Arab Problem' in Paris. Racism is global, I'm afraid (and not limited to the US.)

  7. Such a striking photo, Eric. And I can just picture you all decked out in a robe like this—very elegant! I know this Kiva site (and there are other similar ones).
    I do think the best charities are those that help people to help themselves. You know, "if you give a man a fish . . ." vs. "if you teach a man to fish . . ."

  8. I agree with you, Wren, racism is everywhere... US, Europe, and also in Africa...
    We could talk hours and hours about this "France-Afrique" question, but I don't think PDP is the right place ;-)

  9. I think Kiva is a brilliant idea as well, Eric! You are able to choose what country and what sort of business you would like your loan to be used for - and many are very, very small family business ventures. People do repay your loans and and you always have the opportunity of rolling it over to someone else of your choosing when it is repaid! I like your fish analogy, Alexa!

  10. Wren, people are undoubtedly linked in my head to these colorful food and products each time I eat or use them, but of course I've caught what you were meaning.

    Thib is right, we cannot solve this question on PDP. Anyway, in the Love/Hate issue, hate is really useless.

    Alexa, your comment is great. I did not know this Kiva Site before, but I already knew this fish sentence in which I believe.

    HMM South of Africa, Tanzanie, Kenya, Zanzibar... isn't it a super nice destination ?

  11. This outfit looks much more comfortable than the traditional suit that men use to wear in France. Would you try Eric? ;)

    "natural ressources that we care of"...soft euphemism!

    This is a great picture. Kind of Tenin perspective but not really. Were you afraid to take the picture because they were businessmen?

  12. Hey Guille! You're back ;-)
    Nice to "see" you again!

  13. During the few years I lived in France, many of my closest friends were West African, particularly Malians. Their warmness and hospitality add great value to society.

  14. Alexa, I totally agree. People need to be given the investment and skills to help themselves.

    Africa can be infuriating. Overseas aid often serves only to support corrupt governments, distort natural trade and commerce, and create a dependency culture. It can be a form of financial colonialism.

    Anyway, I do like the Kiva concept, it's certainly worth considering further...

    Isn't it nice to see Guille back?

  15. Yes, drummond I agree. 100% happy to see Guille here!
    Super nice idea this kiva site...
    Hard to sort the right spot to help !
    I used to work in the area of the Chambre de commerce de Paris. Good memories.

  16. I agree with you Tomate, colorful outfits is what Africa brings to mind!

    There used to be a show on one of the HD channels that our local service provider canceled called "Penny Revolution" that highlighted micro-lending. It was cool since they followed the story beginning to end, and some of the people even went on to pay back and lend again for a bigger venture. The default rate they quoted was very low....