NAIROBI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The blossoming cultural ties between China and Kenya are on the right course as long-term benefits start appearing on both ends, senior officials at the second oldest Confucius Institute in Kenya told Xinhua during a recent interview.
Li Qiang, the Chinese director of Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute, and his Kenyan counterpart, Kamau Wango, noted that culture, language and arts have become defining features of diplomatic engagement between Nairobi and Beijing.
"We now have a platform for our governments and people to understand each other better through cultural interactions. The Confucius Institutes have facilitated that interaction," said Li.
He added that Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute, established in 2008 through a partnership with Shandong Normal University, aims to become a model for cultural diplomacy between China and its African partners.
So far, the Confucius Institute at Kenya's second oldest public university has trained more than 3,000 students while 120 have won scholarships to pursue further studies in China.
Li said Kenyan students who have excelled in Mandarin have secured gainful employment.
"We have an alumni working for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). He was a beneficiary of a scholarship to study in China," Li said. "Another student, who is proficient in Chinese language, was also granted an opportunity to study engineering in China. He is now working for a Chinese company here in Kenya."
Li noted that enthusiasm for Chinese language proficiency among Kenyans is huge, especially youth, and entrepreneurs.
Sino-Kenya cultural exchanges that have flourished in recent times have enhanced understanding between the two peoples in general and spread benefits to the youth in particular.
Kamau Wango, the Kenyan director at Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute, said Kenyan youth have strategically realigned themselves to reaping benefits linked to proficiency in Mandarin.
He said new job opportunities for Kenyan youth with a sound grasp of Chinese language and culture are gradually emerging.
Wango hailed China-funded scholarships for broadening the views of young beneficiaries in Kenya, adding that that Kenya-China cultural cooperation has a bright future given the immense benefits it guarantee both sides.
"China has always been a valuable partner especially if you look at the Standard Gauge Railway, trade and education," Wango said.