The story behind that fake Gucci bag

Yesterday I blogged about the tough odds that African migrants face on their journey to Europe. But if they make it, what do they do? Any visitor to the shopping streets of Italy has seen African immigrants selling fake Gucci bags and Rolex watches. As The Economist describes, these traders aren’t just freelance entrepreneurs: […] ...

Yesterday I blogged about the tough odds that African migrants face on their journey to Europe. But if they make it, what do they do? Any visitor to the shopping streets of Italy has seen African immigrants selling fake Gucci bags and Rolex watches. As The Economist describes, these traders aren't just freelance entrepreneurs:

[...] tourists and locals alike probably assume these traders are just a disorganised, random sample of Europe's vast army of human flotsam and jetsam, desperate migrants from poor places who arrive in leaky boats. In reality, the traders on the streets leading to the Vatican are anything but disorganised. They are members of a highly disciplined international community, at once religious and economic, with headquarters in another holy city—Touba, in the heart of Senegal, three hours' drive from Dakar, the capital.

Panapress

Yesterday I blogged about the tough odds that African migrants face on their journey to Europe. But if they make it, what do they do? Any visitor to the shopping streets of Italy has seen African immigrants selling fake Gucci bags and Rolex watches. As The Economist describes, these traders aren’t just freelance entrepreneurs:

[…] tourists and locals alike probably assume these traders are just a disorganised, random sample of Europe’s vast army of human flotsam and jetsam, desperate migrants from poor places who arrive in leaky boats. In reality, the traders on the streets leading to the Vatican are anything but disorganised. They are members of a highly disciplined international community, at once religious and economic, with headquarters in another holy city—Touba, in the heart of Senegal, three hours’ drive from Dakar, the capital.



Panapress

In fact, 80 percent of the peddlers in Italy are Senegalese migrants who belong to a “dynamic Sufi Muslim movement called Mourides.” Followers of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a religious leader who died in 1927, they are inspired by his teachings of self-reliance, hard work and solidarity. They form a “complex, cross-border network” and maintain a close-knit community wherever they are. They work and pray together, help each other in acquiring goods or procuring visa documents, and send money back to their families and religious institutions in Touba. Despite being an obscure group outside the Muslim mainstream, Mourides have become a globalization success story—albeit in their own unique way.

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