Saturday, July 24, 2004


African migrants and refugees are making a positive contribution to the Australian economy and society, by  setting up new businesses and sharing the best aspects of their culture.  The evidence is not hard to find. 

The Rhino Infotech is a computer business recently established by two energetic Nigerians, Emeka Onyenso and Justin Anyanwu, who have adopted Australia as their new home. 

Faced with a great deal  of disappointment in the mainstream labour market (after leaving school), both Justin and Emeka quickly learnt that  the important thing in life is to make a living doing something that one loves most.   “We wanted to be self-employed…and also to have access to secured  sources of income for the future”  said Emeka, the technical manager of the business.  “We also wanted to make a significant contribution to the Australian society”.   It seems to me that all their dreams have, finally, come true, on all counts!

In fact, the establishment of  Rhino Infotech as a business venture is a good reflection of what is happening in the African-Australian community is Australia.  Creative and innovative Africans have ”taken the rhino by the horn”, so to speak, accumulating wealth, the old fashion way, by dabbling in the world of business; and more directly by investing and re-investing their capital in innovative new enterprises.

Although many migrants and refugees still live in relative poverty, things are changing for the better in the newly emerging African communities. Some have become totally engaged with the Australian society (now, they appear to be more Australian than the Australians) and are making their presence felt in many areas of human endeavor.

The demand for technical education and training is increasing enormously.  And Rhino Infotech fills the gap by  offering “cheap” and affordable computers to customers for profit;  providing basic technical advice and training for the new arrivals; as well as  the long-term unemployed.

“We have had  a lot of happy customers and business is picking up” , the marketing manager , Justin, said to me recently. “On the whole it has been a good year for the Rhino”.  Although the profit figures are not available at his stage, the business does seem to have a great deal of potential.  And the future looks bright!

The point to note, however, is that the African community is here to stay; and some migrants and refugees are feeling really good about themselves in the new environment.  Indeed, the career-minded men and women are making giant strides, moving up the corporate ladder, setting up new and innovative firms, or making the rounds as wages and salary earners in  Australian society.

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