The Enterprising Greeks of Mozambique


Authored by Nick Dallas and published in ΝΕΟΣ ΚΟΣΜΟΣ, 7 February 2011 


"The evolution of the Greek Diaspora constitutes an integral part of Modern Greek history. One cannot appreciate the development of the Modern Greek State without understanding the consequences and impact of migration.

There are very few corners of the globe where Greek migrants have not set foot.

The developed regions of North America, Europe and Australia have attracted the majority of Greek migrants in recent times. Relatively few have sought their fortunes in less developed parts of the world, the so-called ‘Third World’.

Even fewer to Sub-Saharan Africa or Black Africa as it is known in the popular imagination.

The migration of Greeks, although only a trickle, to Sub-Saharan Africa has its origins in the late 19th century, overlapping with the ‘Scramble for Africa’ by the various colonial empires of the era.

As Greeks, they did not have any strong affinity in their relations with the colonial powers of the time so they were dispersed, not only in the more numerous British and French colonies but also to the Belgian Congo, German-controlled Tanganyika (modern day Tanzania), Italian-occupied Eritrea, Portuguese-ruled Mozambique and many others.

 In most of these colonies there was a strict division of labour and locals were barred from participating in certain sectors of the economy, while the ruling foreign elites also avoided engaging in some of these sectors.

This opened opportunities for third parties. Greeks, Lebanese, Indians and many others filled ‘middleman’ roles and were instrumental in stimulating local trade and the retail sector.