Beijing, China — Three Liberian graduate students studying in Beijing were party of over 500 African students who participating in the first job fair for African students.
The event, held at the University of International Business and Economics on Wednesday, November 15, brought African students face-to-face with executives of over 60 Chinese firms looking to potentially hire Africans who are prospective graduates of Chinese universities.
It was organized by the China People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC)), an organization engage in people-to-people diplomacy of the people's Republic of China to further international cooperation and promote common development.
The Liberian students - Filmore Wiagbe, Sekou Soko Kamara and Aaron G. Weaye - hailed the organizers and said the event signifies China-Africa economic cooperation for development and opens employment opportunities for African students.
"Youth unemployment is a very serious problem in Africa, so coming up with this idea is going to help the agenda of every government in Africa," said Wiagbe, also vice President of the Liberian Students Union in China.
He is a graduate student of telecommunication information system at the University of Science and Technology of Beijing.
He said the job fair would help mitigate some of the challenges Chinese companies face in Africa.
"The essence of hiring Africans that understand China and Africa relations will help these companies explain their plans and opportunities of these companies to local community where they want to invest, as compare to a Chinese trying to communicate with the community (in Africa) where they want to invest," he said.
"They might not be able to connect with the population, so if you have people from home, they will be able to explain the ideas of the company and it's going to bring development for both sides of the investment."
During the fair, students directly interacted with executives of participating firms and shared their personal information or resume while some firms gave power point presentations to broaden students understanding about their operations in Africa and the potential employment vacancies.
Aaron G. Weaye, a final year Liberian graduate student of Economics at the Renmin University of China who shared his resume with five firms, expressed optimism about landing a job with Chinese firm back on the continent.
"Back home, we have strong economic cooperation with China in terms of development which is being welcome by us."
"So, for me I am exploring opportunities so that I can be able to work in my country with Chinese companies in order to buttress the government effort," he said.
CPAFFC is optimistic the fair will gradually help eased the youth unemployment situation in Africa and at the same time provide Chinese investors on the continent skilled manpower who are knowledgeable about both Chinese and African culture.
"Our mission is to help African students make use of their learning here in China," said Madam Lin Yi, vice President of CPAFFC.
"We will be your strong supporter and in the future you will be the backbone of China-Africa relationship."
There are plans underway to set up a career information center for African students at a university in Beijing to provide "enormous new opportunities" for the African students.
"We want to see the results (from this job fair), if it is successful we want to do more for our African students by holding more job fairs in the future," added Xu Yan, director of Asian and African affairs of CPAFFC.
Xu said the organization wants African students to build Africa better with what they have learned in China.
"We want them to be able to use the China wisdom they have learned and help build their countries."
The prospect of the first job fair for African students is looking positive and Wiagbe says, as a Liberian student union official, he will continue to engage the CPAFFC.
"I am going to be speaking with the vice President of this organization and I think we can begin to coordinate where they can help us (Liberian students) get in contact with Chinese companies that want to employ Liberians either here in China or in Liberia on a part-time or full time employment basis," he said.