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Chinese construction firms mark 10 years of work in Kenya

Li Panpan, director Chinese Railways and Engineering Group,  during an interview at Moi University on December 8, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Chinese companies are celebrating 10 years of changing Kenya’s landscape through mega infrastructural projects across the country financed under bilateral agreements.

From the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Nairobi Expressway to multi-billion roads and houses across Kenya, Chinese firms have constructed landmark infrastructural projects since 2012.

China Railway No.10 Engineering Group marked the Exhibition for China’s Development in the decade (2012-2022) at Moi University’s Confucius Institute on Thursday, where they explained their contribution in shaping Kenya’s infrastructure.

The firm, which is building East Africa Kidney Institute, exhibited several completed projects comprising Kisumu Airport phases one and two, Kisumu-Kakamega road and Namanga Customs office.

The Chinese are also celebrating the creation of at least 50,000 job opportunities in construction as well as introduction of Chinese language in several learning institutions, including universities.

Engineer Li Panpan of China Railway Engineering Group said during the 10-year period, the construction firm embarked on training university students, enabling them to gain practical skills in the field.

“We started our projects in 2007 and for the 15 years we have been around, we have produced some of the best machine operators, technicians and surveyors. We have prepared Kenya for the future in the construction sector,” Mr Panpan said, adding that they had introduced modern infrastructural technologies and management experiences to local staff.

Mr Panpan said partnership with Moi University’s engineering department had improved the quality of infrastructural designs and construction.

“We improved the standards of a number of schools and left behind several boreholes for communities. In the future, we will try our best to build a good relationship with the local people and improve our staff,” he said.

Another official, Chen Zhikang, said Kenyans had been hospitable to the Chinese construction firm and staff during their stay in the country.

He said several research projects, done in collaboration with Moi University, were part of the milestones that shaped infrastructural works in Kenya.

Moi University student leader Gabriel Okola said the institution’s civil engineering students were the biggest beneficiaries of the Chinese 10-year work in Kenya.

Jones Rambo, a sports representative at Moi University Student Council, said the period marked the introduction of the Chinese language in the institution’s curriculum.