Kenya: Chinese Link Bears Fruit As Kenyans Return With Skills


This month, hundreds of Kenyan students return from China after completing their studies in different fields. They have knowledge and enthusiasm to play a constructive role in national development and cementing people-to-people ties between Nairobi and Beijing.

The academic fields in which they were inducted include engineering, health sciences, technology, agriculture, education and humanities. Like their contemporaries around the world, many of the graduates braved challenging times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to earn their degrees.

Luckily, for the Kenyan students in China, the heightened level of government support through the respective universities made it possible for them to complete their studies on schedule. As they return, many of the students also received Chinese Covid-19 vaccines — a result of strategic decision by Beijing to give foreigners equal opportunity for inoculation against the pandemic. Some universities also provided food, medicines, protective clothing and even counselling services to the students.

Beyond the classroom moments, Kenyan students in China have the unique opportunity to experience the host society in its totality. They live with the Chinese and go to their restaurants and shopping complexes. They undertake internships and practicums in top Chinese industries and craft lifelong friendships with the hosts in the course of their studies.

Softer interaction moments

Having lived in China myself, it is these softer interaction moments that allow one to fully take in the depth and pace of development there while revealing some salient enabling factors driving the meteoric transformation of the society. The diversification and effectiveness of the transport system; social cohesion and stability; and the industry of the Chinese stand out. While China has the biggest population, people can move safely and efficiently.

Human resource development cooperation is an important component of transnational learning and experience sharing. China has been a strong partner for Kenya in personnel training through targeted scholarships and exchange programmes. Since 2015, it has provided 67,000 training opportunities for Kenyans, according to the Chinese Embassy in Kenya. In 2019, some 2,400 Kenyan students were enrolled in Chinese institutions. More Africans are seeking higher education opportunities in China, making Beijing a most favoured destination. Beijing is also supporting more students enrolled in local universities through the four Confucius Institutes in and some Chinese enterprises in Kenya.

China and Kenya are jointly implementing the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, domiciled at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The talent cultivation facility being actualised in partnership with the Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has allowed more Kenyans to acquire cutting-edge expertise.

Human capacity building cooperation between China and Kenya should continue unimpeded.

Mr Cavince is a scholar of international relations with a focus on Sino-African relations. @Cavinceworld

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Publish date : 2021-07-16 05:45:43

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