African entrepreneurs partner with China for success, growth

Updated: May 23, 2023 By WANG ZHUOQIONG in Beijing and ZHU YOUFANG in Changsha China Daily Print
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Entrepreneurs exchange opinions on cross-border e-commerce at the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone in September 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Access to large market, technical know-how boon for budding businesses

Silas Musyoka, based in his home country of Kenya, has worked as a sales growth manager at Chinese e-commerce firm Kilimall for five years.

"I'm still learning about the ever-growing e-commerce sector in this country. I believe that Kilimall will have a big impact shaping many economies in Africa," said Musyoka, 32, who obtained his master's degree in political science from Jinan University in Guangzhou.

Kilimall is Kenya's leading online shopping mall. It was set up in 2014 with the motto of "Enriching Lives for Africa", and has more than 10 million registered users.

The company is among other e-commerce firms banking on the promising trade opportunities between China and African countries.

Musyoka said Kilimall has helped him better understand the market and supply chain dynamics in his home country and what it takes to succeed in the tech industry, which is still in its infancy in Kenya. He said he has witnessed how e-commerce has shaped local businesses.

"In this regard, I have been an influencer to most of my peers who are looking to start, establish and grow their businesses in Kenya. I am in a position to coach and guide them in their businesses thanks to the knowledge that I have gained while working at Kilimall," he said.

Musyoka first visited China as a businessman and later as a student, juggling school and work.

"Life in China is fast-paced, where you have to adjust really fast to changing situations. More than what is taught in class, your experiences in the markets, factories, historical and tourist sites and interactions with people also contribute just as much to the learning experiences," he said.

Musyoka said China has a lot to offer in terms of knowledge, skills and technology.

"We still have a long way to go to gain the skills and the knowledge required to build stable e-commerce platforms in this region," he said. Musyoka said Kilimall has been helpful in both those areas. "We have a taste of what China-Africa partnership has to offer."

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