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Chinese firms target Kenyan youth with over 1,000 jobs

Monday October 29 2018

Huawei logo, one of the key players in Kenya's telcom infrastructure.

The Huawei Technologies logo. The company is one of several that have offered more than 1,000 jobs to youths in Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IVY NYAYIEKA

A consortium of Chinese multinationals held its first career fair in the country on Monday, at which nearly 50 companies offered more than 1,000 jobs targeting young Kenyans.

The Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) organised the event that brought together firms including Huawei Technologies, ZTE Kenya Limited, smartphone maker Tecno, Sinohydro Corporation, Baus Optical, Erdemann property Ltd and digital pay TV provider StarTimes.

QUALIFIED KENYANS

Others are Standard Gauge Railway contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and real estate firm Avic International - which is currently putting up a Sh40 billion 47-floor mixed-use complex in Nairobi’s Westlands area.

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya said the companies in different sectors are interested in employing qualified Kenyans.

“On behalf of the KCETA Career Fair team, we are encouraging local students to take advantage of the 1,000 plus jobs offered, including three posts from the embassy itself,” Charge d’Affaires Li Xuhang said.

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Fresh university graduates and young professionals attending the fair eyed jobs in industries such as engineering, media and textile firms.

“Kenya has established strategic relationships with China, testified by the frequency of the interaction of the two country’s top leadership. In the economic space, more than 400 Chinese companies have been creating quality local jobs and establishing crucial skills transfer linkages for Kenya’s development agenda,” said Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Asia and Australasia Affairs, Ambassador Christopher Chika.

The ambassador spoke at the opening ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi County on Monday.

To further boost bilateral relations, the inaugural China International Import Exhibition (CIIE) will be held in Shanghai, China in November. President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the exhibition.

CRITICISM

The fair came at a time when some Chinese firms operating in Kenya have come under fire for alleged discrimination against their local staff.

On Saturday, Deputy President William Ruto endorsed Mathira legislator Rigathi Gachagua’s motion for contracts worth less than Sh1 billion to be awarded to Kenyans only.

This came amid intensified concerns from different quarters that foreigners are crowding Kenyan firms and keeping locals from getting tenders.

Mr Gachagua argues that foreigners should only be allowed to bid for contracts worth more than this amount on condition that they commit 30 per cent of the project workload to Kenyans.