File photo shows Kenyan workers go about their work on an assembly line at Twyford Ceramics in Kajiado County, Kenya, May 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
Chinese firms in Kenya will continue with their localization drive by creating more job opportunities for locals, a Chinese envoy said on Tuesday.
"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, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya told journalists in Nairobi.
Li has made the remarks during the Kenya China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) Outstanding Employees Award Ceremony. During the event, 55 employees working for Chinese firms were recognized for their long-time service. KCETA was founded in 2001 and now has 97 Chinese enterprises as members.
Among the Chinese enterprises in the association include the China Road and Bridge Corporation, Huawei Technologies, and KEDA (Kenya) Ceramics.
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.
The diplomat noted that more Chinese companies have chosen to take root in Kenya and work with local partners to build a series of mutually beneficial cooperation projects.
The envoy said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 55 years ago, China and Kenya have cooperated to complete more than 100 major projects including the Standard Gauge Railway and the Moi International Sports Centre.
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 Chinese official said that 2018 is also the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative and that Kenya is an important partner in promoting the China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation.
Li Changgui, chairman of KCETA, said that members pay special attention to mutual respect and cultural integration while operating in accordance with the law and regulations of Kenya.
"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 added.
The chairman said that the companies attach great importance to technology transfer and actively train local technical and management talents to further improve the localization level of the enterprises.
Betty Maina, principal secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said that the recognition and awarding of outstanding employees is a clear testimony that KCETA appreciates the input of the workers towards achieving their stated objectives.
Maina said that the government is keen to improve the quality of human skills by expansion of technical and vocational institutions in order to provide both domestic and foreign investors with competent personnel.