Strengthening Kenyan-Chinese Relations: Language & Culture at the Forefront
A Memorandum of Cooperation on Publication
In a significant move that aims to strengthen ties between Kenya and China, a Memorandum of Cooperation on Publication was recently signed between Kenyan and Chinese publishers. This agreement was sealed at the Confucius Institute of the University of Nairobi, an institution known for promoting Chinese language and culture. The key objective of this collaboration is to facilitate the publication of Chinese textbooks in Kenya, providing Kenyan language learners with better resources to study Chinese.
Language Learning: Building Bridges
The initiative is a strategic step towards fostering the learning of the Chinese language in Kenya. By providing Kenyan learners with superior resources, the project aims to make Chinese language learning more accessible and effective. This, in turn, will not only enhance the learners’ proficiency in the language but also deepen their understanding of Chinese culture. The partnership, thus, serves as an important part of the ongoing collaboration between Kenya and China, with education and language learning forming a crucial component of their relationship.
Books on China’s Governance in Kiswahili
In another remarkable development that underscores the strengthening of Kenyan-Chinese ties, the Kiswahili edition of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China Volume I” was launched at the University of Nairobi’s Chandaria Hall. The book, written by the Chinese President, chronicles China’s development path, shedding light on the philosophical underpinnings of its political and socioeconomic transformation. The translation of this influential book into Kiswahili is expected to promote its wider access, as Kiswahili is spoken by over 200 million people, primarily in East Africa. This initiative is viewed as a significant step in fostering intercultural amity and underlines China’s interest in promoting other cultures in the Global South.
Chinese Book Section in National Library
Further bolstering the cultural exchange between the two countries, a Chinese book section was recently inaugurated in the National Library of Kenya. This section, stocked with books donated by Chinese Non-Governmental Organizations, will serve as a resource for those interested in studying Chinese culture and language. With this initiative, the library’s foreign language department is expected to cater to the growing interest among Kenyans to learn Mandarin and understand the rich Chinese culture. This development is seen as a direct result of the burgeoning relationship between China and Kenya, which has witnessed an increase in the number of Chinese investors in the East African country in recent years.
Chinese Influence on Local Education
Chinese companies and NGOs in Kenya have also been actively contributing to local education. Companies such as China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and Huawei have been providing skill training to Kenyans. CCCC, known for its construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, has trained many locals, equipping them with the skills needed to contribute to infrastructure projects. Huawei, on the other hand, has been setting up ICT classes in five Kenyan universities under its ‘Seeds for the Future’ project. These initiatives have not only provided job opportunities to Kenyans but also significantly contributed to the country’s socio-economic development.
The strengthening of Kenyan-Chinese ties, especially in the realm of language learning and cultural exchange, represents a significant stride towards fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures. Through collaborative initiatives in publishing, education, and skill training, both countries are charting a path of mutual growth and understanding. The ongoing efforts to promote the learning of the Chinese language and culture in Kenya are a testament to this growing relationship and are expected to continue to flourish in the years to come.
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