Feature: Chinese language popular among Namibian students amid growing trade ties

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-19 21:57:28|Editor: Li Xia
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WINDHOEK, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- With growing trade relations between Namibia and China, more and more Namibian students are falling in love with learning the Chinese language.

"I am only the first year at University of Namibia and I chose Chinese as a foreign language as this could broaden my horizons in the future," said Ndapewa Shikongo, a student at a local university.

More and more people in the world are doing business with China and soon mandarin will be the most sought after language, "so why not prepare for it," said Shikongo.

Renowned Namibian educationist and Namibian University of Science and Technology Deputy Vice Chancellor Andrew Niikondo believes Namibia and many other Africa countries stand to benefit immensely from having more students learning Chinese.

"Namibia trade relations with China are growing by the day and more and more deals are being signed between the two countries," said Niikondo.

"This move is creating a vacant opportunity for Namibian graduates to interact more in the business world with their Chinese counterpart," he said.

As a result, it is imperative that more tertiary education students and even officials learn the Chinese language as way of bridging the language barrier when doing business, he noted.

Niikondo reckons that China is now the next frontier for both African exports as well as reliable business partner for most African governments.

Niikondo added that Namibia is not the only country that saw the relevance of incorporating Chinese languages at universities but a host of other countries are also making the same move.

The trend is now popular in many Africa countries in the southern African region and the continent as a whole, he said.

"It is only wise that as a country Namibia also follows the same as everyone else," he said.

In fact, many major universities in the continent are incorporating mandarin in their management courses as a way of improving the quality of graduates who will in future have to negotiate with Chinese companies coming to Africa, he said.

Over the past six years, more than 3,000 Namibians have enrolled to learn to speak mandarin at the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in partnership with China University of Geo-Sciences.

Director of the Confucius Institute Zhang Fan said language is serving as a smooth conveyor belt in bridging between China and Namibia relations for the future.

"Students have noted that learning Chinese offers advantages both in the local tourism industry, and in a variety of interactions at the world stage," he said.