Vietnamese in Africa

Although there are only 10,000 Vietnamese people in Africa and most of them are now resident in Angola, they have made a great contribution to the development of their host countries in many different fields.

Medical and educational specialists were the first o­nes to go to Africa in the 1980s and 300 of them remain there.

Looking homeward

Vietnamese people in Angola are involved in a wide range of business such as textiles and garments, import and export services, foodstuffs and the service sector.

Angola is very rich in natural resources like oil and diamonds, but the country is still very underdeveloped in medical service, education and environmental protection. Many people suffer from diseases like malaria, cholera, pulmonary tuberculosis, and AIDS and since the beginning of 2009 four Vietnamese people have died of such diseases.

According to Nghiem Nhat Mai, Chairman of the Vietnamese Residents’ Association in Angola, despite the global economic downturn, they always protect o­ne another to overcome difficulties and turn their hearts towards their homeland.

This spirit is expressed by activities like the campaign to raise US$3,840 for the Young Volunteers’ fund, and US$2,000 for the Vietnam Women’s Union’s “Houses for the poor” fund.

Although they live far from home, all the country’s national festivals like the Tet holiday, Independence Day, War Invalids and Martyrs Day, and People’s Army foundation Day are celebrated o­n a regular basis.

Since the re-opening of the Vietnamese Embassy in Angola, the Executive Board of the Vietnamese Residents’ Association says they have held many meetings to help people feel less homesick and provide a forum for them to air their own problems.

Recently, many workers have been exported to African countries through broking agencies at a very high cost. However, these agencies have no responsibility for their workers when they have accidents or even when they die.

Warnings against labour-export fraud

The number of foreign workers going to Angola has increased rapidly, so Angola’s Immigration Department has taken stricter measures to search for and capture illegal immigrants.

Security in Angola will be tightened in the near future as they are preparing for the African Nations Football Championship (CAN 2010) and Presidential elections. Vietnamese suspects, even with valid passports, will be held in custody at airports and expelled from the country as soon as there is a flight to Vietnam.

Mai says that hundreds of Vietnamese people sent to Angola by broking agencies have been expelled even though they had to pay between US$7,000 and 8,000 for a return ticket from Hanoi to Angola.

Many unskilled workers from poor remote areas in Vietnam have gone to Angola without learning about the danger facing them.  Some of them have died of malaria and other diseases.

Mai says there is an urgent need to strictly manage broking agencies and provide adequate information for workers before they sign their contracts.


(VOV News)