Feature: Namibians seek business opportunities from China amid COVID-19

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 1, 2020 at 12:24 PM

WINDHOEK, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Maggie Karipi launched her Chinese kitchen accessories business on Friday, at a time when umemplymen rate is high amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 37-year-old Namibian woman said she decided on Chinese kitchen accessories, because the industry in China has been flourishing and evolving over the past decade, and currently it is continuing to expand at an exponential rate.

"China's kitchen appliances market has expanded considerably over recent years. Advances in urbanization, the real estate market, and smart home appliances are all seen as conducive to the development of the kitchen appliance market," she said.

Karipi said the idea to open the shop came from her close friend from China named Huang Bingqing.

"Huang said I know a lot of people, can easily make new friends and that selling is something that I am very good at. I am also a parttime sales representative. I have the skills to do this job successfully. Huang would order the items in China and I would sell them here in Namibia. She has great style when it comes to kitchen accessories and Namibians love them," Karipi said.

Karipi currently sells from her home. She said her business provides the perfect platform to help curb the spread of the deadly virus.

"Clients are safe. Clients are few at once. There is no risk of large gatherings like at shops that are located at shopping malls. Clients hands are sanitized at the gate before they enter the shop and again when they leave. I have a great air conditioner which makes the wearing of face masks easier. Clients are also required to fill the logbook at the entrance," she said.

Karipi sells a variety of kitchen accessories such as knives, chopping boards, kitchen scissors, measuring spoons, pasta strainers, can openers, blenders, tea pots, frying pans and pots.

Faced with job losses and severe salary cuts across different sectors after the economy was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, some Namibians, like Karipi, seek opportunities in China.

An unemployed youth Miles Shipwata said more young Namibian people are seeking business opportunities from China. Shipwata said in hush times like this it is a good idea for unemployed people to find ways themselves and make an earning.

"The Namibian unemployment rate is high. During the pandemic many people are struggling to find jobs, so it makes me happy to see youngsters finding ways to earn an income," Shipwata said.

Malissa Shilongo, 20, said she sells human hair bought from China.

"I am now selling the hair here in Namibia. The hair in China is for sale at an affordable price and it is a product that Namibians likes to buy," Shilongo said.

Shilongo who started her business three years ago said her business has grown and she today employs two youngsters.

"My business is going well. I had no other choice but to start my own business because I could not find a job here in Namibia. It was very sad because I had to go from one closed door to another," Shilongo said.

Shilongo further urges other Namibians who are jobless to find other ways so they can put food on the table.

Statistics from Namibia Statistics Agency shows that the unemployment rate of Namibians between the ages of 15 and 34 years has increased from 43.4 percent recorded in 2016 to 46.1 percent by the end of 2018, while the unemployment rate of those aged between 19 and 34 stands at 44 percent.