A total of 35 Kenyan students are to receive full scholarships to study in China, fully sponsored by China Road and Bridge Corp.
China Communications Construction Co, its China Road and Bridge Corp arm and Beijing Jiaotong University signed the training program agreement on March 9, as part of the companies’ efforts to implement China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
In 2015, China announced it would fund 1,000 Kenyan students to go to universities, to cultivate potential experts for Kenya’s and East Africa’s railway industry. CRBC promised to do its part by funding 100 Kenyan high school graduates who will major in railway construction.
The company also said it will donate $10 million to build railway technology institutes and to support Kenya’s self-sustainable development.
To date, CRBC has supported 251 students from Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Togo to pursue further study in China.
Michael Kinyanjui, the Kenyan ambassador to China, said he appreciated the aid and hoped that the Kenyan students would return home after finishing the courses to devote their newfound expertise to railway construction in Kenya.
Zhou Wei, chief engineer of the Ministry of Transport said that the friendship between Kenya and China is long standing and well established, even though vast oceans separate the two countries.
He recalled the story of Zheng He (1371-1433), a famous Chinese navigator, who undertook seven voyages in the 1400s and landed on Kenya’s coasts four times, which promoted economic and cultural exchanges among Asian and African countries at the time.
Today, Kenyan students studying abroad deepen the two countries’ educational cooperation and deliver high-caliber personnel to East Africa’s railway network, said Zhou.
The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway built in 2013-17 and the railway connecting Nairobi to Malabar, both constructed by the CRBC, also help to promote sub-regional interconnection and the integration of East Africa, he said.
Sun Ziyu, vice-president of China Communications Construction, said that the company and its subsidiary CRBC are devoted to implementing infrastructure and connecting people via the Belt and Road Initiative. They have taken on many social responsibilities such as disaster relief and endowing schools, he said.
The corporation provided more than 38,000 job opportunities in Kenya, among which 90 percent were offered to local employees. It has also trained over 20,000 Kenyan engineers for the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.
Lu Shan, general manager of CRBC, said: “The company is not only working on the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi and Nairobi-Malabar railways, but also working on the long-term friendship between Kenya and China.”
Since 1984, the company has undertaken 20 construction projects in Kenya. These projects have received wide-ranging appreciation from the Kenyan government and people, according to CRBC.