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African youths finish entrepreneurship program

BEIJING: Dozens of African youths have completed an entrepreneurship program, which brought them closer to China’s booming e-commerce and tech giants.

Financed by China Merchants Foundation, the C-STAR African Youth Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program aims to promote employment and entrepreneurship of African youth. Its closing ceremony was held Wednesday at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

BUSINESS EMPOWERMENT An employee works at a multi-purpose warehouse of e-commerce company Jumia in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sept. 13, 2019. Dozens of African youths have completed an entrepreneurship program sponsored by China in June 2023 that will bring them closer to the country’s booming e-commerce and tech giants. XINHUA PHOTO

Young African entrepreneurs involved in the program have gone through online and offline classes, with a focus on digital innovation and cross-border e-commerce, since September 2022.

The final phase of the program brought 29 young African entrepreneurs to visit big-name Chinese companies, such as Alibaba and Huawei, on a 10-day trip. During the visit, the youths introduced their entrepreneurship projects and had dialogues with the enterprises.

At the closing ceremony, Kidist Tesfaye, C-STAR fellow and founder of Yene Health, called upon the young African entrepreneurs to build businesses and seek guidance from and collaboration with the Chinese organizations they visited.

“Let us harness the knowledge and experiences gained from China’s transformative journey to accelerate the cooperation between our countries, and let us empower ourselves as true agents of change,” she said.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner and its fourth-biggest source of investment. Official data showed that bilateral trade between China and Africa stood at $282 billion in 2022. In the first four months of the year, China’s new direct investment in Africa reached $1.38 billion, up 24 percent year on year.

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