(Hello Africa) African youth behind digital innovation in Africa with “China experiences”-Xinhua


Young African entrepreneurs learn how to operate Djimart, a cross-border e-commerce platform, from a Chinese business manager at the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone in Djibouti city, capital of Djibouti, Sept. 14, 2022. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)

As a global leader in the digital innovation industry, China provides experience and technical support for the development of Africa’s digital economy in e-commerce, digital infrastructure, mobile applications and payments. Inspired by their experiences in China, some African youth will be the driving force to leapfrog their countries’ digital economies and innovate while respecting local needs.

DJIBOUTI CITY, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) — “When you are in China, you don’t realize how much you absorb and learn and how much you adapt to a very fast-moving and high-tech society,” Deliah Nalukwago, a young Ugandan entrepreneur, recalled her 11-year experience in China.

“I would say China has helped me instill my entrepreneurial spirit. When you return to Africa, you see a solution to every problem because you have that point of reference from life in China,” said Nalukwago, who was among nearly 30 young African entrepreneurs from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda who spent an eight-day training program supported by Chinese companies, learned business processes and shared their entrepreneurial experiences.

The first training camp of the Center for Innovation and Maritime Excellence, in which Nalukwago participated with the topic “Digital Innovation and Cross-Border E-Commerce”, ended on Wednesday in Djibouti City, the capital of Djibouti.

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After graduating from high school, Nalukwago applied for a scholarship in China, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in medicine and a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Ugandan entrepreneur Deliah Nalukwago (R) learns Chinese culture during a Chinese culture program in Djibouti City, capital of Djibouti, Sept. 18, 2022. (Credit: Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)

After completing her studies, she returned to Uganda and in 2019 founded a health technology startup in the country’s capital, Kampala, called “My Musawo”, which means “my doctor” in Luganda, the main language of the country. The company’s eponymous mobile app, which launched in May this year, works with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to offer users professional online consultation services and health advice.

It was a Chinese doctor and TCM that set Nalukwago on the path to medical school. “When I was 8 years old, my mother had a nervous condition and all hopes of western medicine were lost. That’s when she met our family doctor and the first TCM doctor in Uganda.” After a few months of acupuncture and massage therapy, her mother returned to normal and the TCM doctor cured Nalukwago’s chronic asthma. “He was like a mentor to me and inspired me to enter the medical field, especially in China to study TCM, which helped my mother.”

After her bachelor’s degree, she took a year to complete an internship in a hospital in Uganda. This years of experience enabled the young African, looking forward to pursuing her dream career, to realize that the local healthcare system was lacking in terms of efficiency and management.

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“From then on, I wanted to be part of the solution to these problems,” Nalukwago said, adding that in China she saw how quickly people could get the medical information and advice they needed through the internet and mobile apps, and the rapid growth The proliferation of smartphones in Uganda and across Africa inspired her to work with her partners to develop an app to help more Ugandans.

Another camp participant, Nael Hailemariam, is a young Ethiopian with business ties to China. After receiving his master’s degree from Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School in China, he returned to his home country to set up a digital financial company providing online payment services.

Ethiopian entrepreneur Nael Hailemariam (1st R) shares his experiences and thoughts during a roundtable discussion in Djibouti City, capital of Djibouti, Sept. 15, 2022. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)

Nael said China’s culture of innovation and efficiency had a profound impact on his entrepreneurial endeavors, and he was inspired by China’s great success in e-commerce. He also organized a trip to Ethiopia in 2019 for Tsinghua University students from China to exchange science, innovation and culture with young local entrepreneurs. “I want Chinese students to understand Africa, but more importantly, I want African youth to understand Chinese development and Chinese speed.”

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According to the participants, the camp helps entrepreneurs without technical and business backgrounds to acquire relevant skills and also creates a network for young African entrepreneurs to connect with fellows from different backgrounds for their future collaborations. “We young people are the future of Africa, we must seize all resources and opportunities to build Africa,” said Mahad Abdourazak, a participant from Djibouti, who expressed his delight at the opportunities China has been opening up to young entrepreneurs in Africa lately has offered years.

As a global leader in the digital innovation industry, China provides experience and technical support for the development of Africa’s digital economy in e-commerce, digital infrastructure, mobile applications and payments. Inspired by their experiences in China, some African youth will be the driving force to leapfrog their countries’ digital economies and innovate while respecting local needs.

Regarding China-Africa cooperation on youth innovation, Nalukwago believes that “Compared to all other countries, China is a very good partner for us.” She said China is not only funding many large-scale projects in Africa, but is also reaching out to young African entrepreneurs. “African youth will be the future of the continent and I am pleased to see that they are ready to understand us and help us grow.”



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