Developing Africa from China: How is DUAPA playing its part?

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Tozo Kokou, Duapa's Research Team Lead who is a Policy Consultant and PHD candidate in Economics, Shares his thoughts on Duapa's role in Developing Africa from China
On July 13th 2019, during a youth forum organized in Beijing by the Cameroonian Students Association in China (CSAC) where I participated as a guest speaker on the theme: “Equipped for the Future”, we debated on the academic orientation and professional integration of African students in China. The Ambassador of Cameroon to China, H.E Mr. Martin MPANA delivered a keynote speech and just as great speakers do, his speech was entertaining and very insightful at the same time. Because he believed he is now old enough to start working on long term career goals –most of which he has already fulfilled– the Ambassador recalled instead that all the students in the room stand great chance to become game changers in the development of their home countries. For him, China is a perfect learning ground for those who envision rapid growth and development for their home economies.
Earlier in the morning before we even gathered for the forum, I met Mr. Musa Frimpong, co-founder and CEO of Duapa Africa whom, upon my request, briefed me on his company’s activities. So he came to talk about how to build a successful business while I was invited to instruct my colleagues on how to become employable in China once they are handed their degree certificates. My professional background as a former part time researcher in a think tank at one among the most prestigious institutions in China –Peking University– has shaped my public profile fitting the perfect candidate who can do that. They might have been a bit surprised when I went against the advices of the Ambassador to say that the best place to become successful in one’s career is China. But then I clarified: ‘when you live in China, the best place to start a successful career is China; otherwise, the best place is anywhere else as long as you live there’. So can’t we develop Africa from China because we don’t live in Africa right now? Or is it necessary to go back to our country to make things work?

My friend Musa explained to me that same morning how he and his team are working in China to participate in the development of Africa. It is true that when you build a company like Duapa with such a youthful and visionary team as I now discovered, you have the chance to brand Africa the way you want. The time is really suitable as many Chinese investors are still not sure whether Africa is worth a chance to attract and host their companies. When we met again a week later at the Mandela International Day, Mr. Musa suggested to me that I joined “… our Team”. I have just turned down an interview from a company in Shanghai which shortlisted my CV. I have deferred the chance to be employed there so I can join a team that has vision for Africa and its people. In less than a year, before their first anniversary, Duapa have organized and co-organized several events which gathered thousands of people from around the globe, and have given chance to everyone to network and explore opportunities for business, employment and career.
I have met so many people in China including leaders from Africa who were very fascinated, and expressed how proud they are of my successful integration here. Now I can’t imagine their expression if they come across the small but ambitious and visionary team of Duapa. Some more Duapas in China or elsewhere and we can build “The Africa we want”. As I continue to cherish the efforts of those who shaped my academic and professional profile in China especially my friends and my mentors from UIBE and from the INSE at Peking University, I am grateful to continue learning and contributing to the growth of Duapa, a company of limitless opportunities for business, academics and for the politics. I believe Duapa deserves high-level support from everyone and I wish this team a very successful future.

By : Tozo Kokou

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