The Kenyatta International Convention Center

Chinese govt's scholarship helps Kenyans and deepens ties

The China-Kenya educational cooperation has yielded fruitful results, said China's Ambassador to Kenya Sun Baohong at the 2018 farewell reception for Kenyan students in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Sun said "Sixty-nine Kenyan students have received the Chinese Government Scholarship this year and some 100 other Kenyan students have got Chinese scholarships from other sources."

She praised the young men and women as the power of growth, power of development and power of opening-up. "You represent the hope of Kenya and the future of China-Kenya friendship."

According Sun, since the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in 2015, China has provided over 67,000 training opportunities for Kenyan personnel from different sectors.

For three years in a row, China has been Kenya's largest trading partner, investor and contractor. The bilateral trade volume in 2017 reached $5.2 billion, 59 percent more than that in 2013.

Currently there are about 400 Chinese enterprises in Kenya, creating nearly 130,000 job opportunities. The Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation have strongly boosted Kenya's Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030.

The people-to-people exchanges are also booming. There are four Confucius Institutes and several Chinese schools in Kenya. The Language and Culture Center at Kenyatta University funded by the Chinese government has been completed.

The China-Africa Joint Research Center has become an important platform for China-Africa scientific and technological cooperation as well as an incubator for Kenyan young talents.

Since 1982, Chinese government has been offering scholarships to Kenyan students every year. So far, over 1,000 Kenyan students have obtained the Chinese Government Scholarship.

More than 2,400 Kenyan students are now studying in China. On the other hand, more and more college students from China come to Kenya for academic and social practice.

Sun said China is one of the earliest countries to establish diplomatic ties with Kenya. In recent years, China-Kenya relations have undergone leapfrog development.

In a couple of days, President Kenyatta will visit China again to attend the Beijing Summit of FOCAC and exchange views on cooperative development with leaders of China and other African countries.

The ambassador was echoed by Collette Akoth Suda, the principal secretary of the State Department for University Education of Ministry of Education Kenya.

In her remarks read by Tabby Mungai, director of student affairs at the ministry, Suda cited the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) as a successful major project that China and Kenya have co-operated to complete.

Financed and constructed by a Chinese company, the SGR project has created 46,000 local jobs, cut the transportation cost between Kenya's capital and its largest port city by 40 percent and increased the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.5 percent, said Ms. Suda.

She thanked China for helping Kenya promote industrialization by technology transfer and human resources development. In vocational education, China provides funding, equipment, teachers and cooperates with 134 institutes to train nearly 30,000 mechanical engineers, electricians and automation professionals each year.

In the area of higher education training, the Chinese government has been offering scholarships to Kenya annually since the early of 1980s.

"The scholarships go a long way in deepening the strong bonds of friendship and long-standing trade ties. More education and training opportunities are also being provided by various ministries in China.

Chinese firms are also transferring valuable skills to Kenyans. For example, seven young Kenyan women are drivers of the SGR trains after completing a railway course in China sponsored by a Chinese company", said Suda.

As one of the former beneficiaries, Henry Kibet Rotich, who is now the director of Metrology and Testing of the Kenya Bureau of Standards, shared his study experience in China about 20 years ago and encouraged the young students to learn not only professional skills but also Chinese language and culture.

Rotich is also the Chairman of the Kenya-China Alumni Association, which was formed in 2002 with the aim of promoting culture and economic interactions between Chinese and Kenyans with a goal of win-win and based on mutual respect as partners.

While in China, he met his dream girl and got married later. Now he lives a happy life with his Chinese wife and two children.

According to the chairman, the membership of the alumni association stands at over 500 and is spread all over the world. Their business area covers tour guiding, interpreter, teaching Chinese and all kinds of private businesses.

Joseph Maritim, the treasurer of the alumni association, was one of the 10 lucky pioneers in 1982. He studied Chinese in Beijing Language Institute for one year and then went to Northern Jiaotong University majoring in industrial and civil engineering.

He returned to Kenya in 1987 and worked in a private company for 20 years then he set up his own company in the country's fast growing and blooming real estate industry.

He said the freshmen should grasp the chance. "Make full use of the opportunity that the Chinese government provides. You will benefit from it all through your lives."

Source: Hong'e

Published: 07/09/18