China attributes railway management issues in Kenya to language barrier

2018-07-30 09:01:59
Summary:The recent management issues with the Standard Gauge Railway operator, China Road and Bridge Corporation, were pro
The recent management issues with the Standard Gauge Railway operator, China Road and Bridge Corporation, were probably caused by the language barrier and cultural differences between local people and Chinese nationals, said Sun Baohong, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya.

"There were complaints that Chinese nationals did not sit at the same table with locals during mealtime. It's difficult to sit together when people don’t communicate in the same language," she said.

Sun said the images portraying Kenyans as being punished was misinterpreted, describing the acts as part of team building.

"That is part of team building which all Chinese people, including me, do. If it's offensive to the local people, then the company can change to other types of exercises," she said.

She said China is helping Kenya to construct the SGR and build the capacity of the local people for smooth operation of the railway.

Sun said China is committed to enhancing its relationship with Kenya and that more Chinese enterprises will invest in the East African country in efforts to help the government achieve its big four agenda.

She said 2018 is an important year for China-Kenya cooperation, noting that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be traveling to Beijing in September during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, where he is expected to hold discussions with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.

She said there have been frequent high-level exchanges between China and Kenya over the recent past, with the number of such visits reaching 60.

"More Kenyans are going to China for business, long-term studies and training. More Chinese tourists are also coming to Kenya. In 2013, the number of Chinese tourists to Kenya was 25,000 and last year the number tripled. This year, we expect a 20 percent increase in the number of Chinese tourists," she said.

Sun said she had a chat with the manager of China Southern Airlines, who informed her that flights are fully booked for the high tourism season, which runs from late June to October.

"With joint efforts, we will have more achievements in the next five years. In the future, I wish that the Chinese embassy, our enterprises and Chinese nationals will work together to create favorable conditions for China-Kenya cooperation," she said.

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