Surge in demand for China

Updated: 2014-04-16 08:30

By Todd Balazovic (China Daily)

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A 'daunting' process

Berhe, who was directed to the UIBE program by an uncle who was already in Beijing, said that without someone in the country to help, finding and applying for a suitable program can be daunting.

Surge in demand for China

"Africa is now where China was 30 years ago, so people who didn't invest in China 30 years ago are now scratching their heads." Rewina Berhe, a 24-year-old student from Ethiopia. Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

"The application process was quite hard," he said. "For example, if you wanted to apply for a university from Ethiopia, the online payment was quite difficult. We don't have much access to credit cards and so on, so in the past you would definitely have to have someone here to help you out."

This is changing as student networks established by graduates make it easier for those without pre-existing connections in China to get help.

Young African Professionals and Students, which provides support and information for prospective students, started in 2009 and now has 3,000 members.

Meanwhile, Kiziga has connected with 186 universities actively seeking African students. Now, as more students graduate, the company has turned its focus to helping to find jobs, said Haguma, the CEO.

"One problem is that there are not many internships here in China, but we're trying to create them," he said.

Last year, Kiziga managed to place 20 students in internships in China. This year, the company aims to place 100 students.

Part of the problem is the dearth of multinational African companies in China. While many Chinese companies are setting up operations in Africa, students who wish to remain in China often have difficulty finding employment.

"In general, the job market in China is very competitive, so it's very difficult for Africans to find jobs in the country," Berhe said.

"A few South African companies are involved in various industries in China, but other countries lack MNCs that have invested in China."

Still, as the future of China and Africa become increasingly interlinked, the newest generation of Africans who have honed their skills in China will be leading the development charge.

"Africa is now where China was 30 years ago, so people who didn't invest in China 30 years ago are now scratching their heads," Berhe said.

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