KENYA-CHINA TIES

Chinese firms in Kenya to train locals to take up senior duties

The Chinese trade body comprising of 97 firms was formed in 2001

In Summary

• Last year, Kenyans protested influx of Chinese labour in the country, forcing the Ministry of Interior Security to stage campaign against illegal immigrants  

A batch of 55 Outstanding employee working for Chinese enterprise in Kenya board a bus to the Airport following the flagging off by KCETA to eight day trip in China from April 8,2019.
A batch of 55 Outstanding employee working for Chinese enterprise in Kenya board a bus to the Airport following the flagging off by KCETA to eight day trip in China from April 8,2019.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Chinese firms in Kenya have embarked on localization drive by offering specialized training to Kenyans to take up senior roles, a Chinese envoy has revealed.

Last year, trade and civil society lobby groups staged protests in Nairobi against influx of Chinese employees taking up minor jobs and low scale businesses at the expense of locals.

This saw the Ministry of Interior Security stage campaign against illegal immigrants and low scale expatriates. 

Speaking while unveiling first 28 of 55 local employees going for eight days work exposure in China, Li Xuhang, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya hailed local workforce for its expertise and hard work.

"Chinese companies choose to be more localized, because they know that Kenyan employees are so diligent, ambitious and farsighted to overcome cultural differences and language barrier to make a difference," Li Xuhang said.  

The 55 employees emerged top in the inaugural Kenya China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) Outstanding Employees Award held in December.

The Chinese trade body comprising of 97 firms was formed in 2001 and has since created 50,000 job opportunities especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Among the Chinese enterprises in the association include the China Road and Bridge Corporation, Huawei Technologies, and KEDA (Kenya) Ceramics.

KCETA chairman Li Changgui companies attach great importance to technology transfer and actively train local technical and management talents to further improve the localization level of the enterprises.

"The members have created an encouraging situation in which Chinese and Kenyan employees work together both for the development of the company and contribute to the economic development of Kenya," he said.

Li said that the KCETA members have increased the number of local job opportunities from 42,000 in 2016 to more than 50,000 this year.

According to a World Bank report in 2016, Chinese businesses in Kenya on average employed 360 local employees, far greater than the average 147 locals employed by other foreign enterprises in Kenya.

The remaining 27 employees will depart the country on April 15.