Timothy Kwakye Karikari; lead consultant for 360 Degrees Services Management and a PhD candidate in China’s University of International Business and Economics has been elected as the President of the Beijing Chapter of the National Union of Ghana Students for the 2019/2020 academic year. He was elected with other executives at a General Meeting held at Ghana’s Embassy in Beijing on 23rd June 2019 in accordance with the union’s constitution.
Mwin-Nia Saan-ye Zumakpeh; an MSc student in Actuarial Science and Risk Management at the University of International Business and Economics was also elected as the union’s Vice President. The General Secretary position was won by Aduko Bukari Lardi, a Masters in Chinese Economy student at the Renmin University of China whilst Sebastian Gadah Besa, a master’s student in World Economics at Beijing Normal University was elected Financial Secretary. Saaka Latifatu; an MBA student at North China University of Technology was elected as the Women’s Commissioner of the union.
The newly elected executives pledged to dedicate their time and resources to for the development of the union, protect the interest of Ghanaian students in Beijing and ultimately work to positively impact Ghana’s image in Beijing. According to Karikari; President- Elect, the Africa-China relationship is at a discovery phase and therefore requires African talents with the requisite skills and experiences to advice African businesses and governments to ensure Africa’s interest and success is achieved. It is therefore important that students studying in China see this as an opportunity to contribute to this nascent area and become the best in their respective fields of endeavor.
Commenting on the prospects of studying in China, he believes studying in China in this critical time of Africa’s development trajectory is strategic because many African countries are increasingly engaging with China and therefore require specialist advise, skills and support from persons with the know-how on the Chinese practice.
He said, “China is Africa’s largest trading partner and initiatives such as the Forum for China and Africa Cooperation, the 1st China-Africa trade expo and others continue to strengthen the relationship. Again, many African countries have plans to industrialize with Ghana’s flagship One District One Factory (1D1F) policy being an example of how African governments are aggressive to develop through industrialization and addition of value to resources. We also see more and more Chinese showing interest and doing business in Africa. An opportunity therefore exists to play a part in this booming relationship whether at the academic level, advocacy level, government level or enterprise level. Global agencies are also interested in this new trend and therefore require the services of competent people for research, policy etc. Studying in China and if possible, acquiring the language and culture would be beneficial in the long term.”.
He thanked the immediate past executive body for initiating innovative programmes such as the maiden Global Leadership Forum in Beijing which attracted diplomats and experts from academia, enterprise and advocacy. He believes that such events provide a platform for learning and development and also expose Ghanaian students to global opportunities.
With more than 7000 Ghanaians studying in China, Ghana is the top African country in terms of students studying in China. Second to France, China is the second most preferred destination for African international students, a position previously held by western countries. Whilst the increasing trend in enrolment numbers could be due to affordable tuition and cost of living in China, dynamic engineering programmes and scholarships, many analysts equate this to the growth of China’s partnership with Africa spearheaded by the Forum for China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).