Graduates urged to learn Chinese to tap into rising opportunities 

Prof Nawangwe (seated centre ), together with officials from the Chinese Embassy, members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Makerere University Confucius Institute staff, pose for a photo after the handover of the buildings in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO / STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

  • According to Ms Xia Zhuoqiong, students and graduates should learn Chinese to share into opportunities given the high number of Chinese companies in Uganda 

Continuing and graduate students should learn how to speak Chinese to access employment in Chinese founded companies, according to Ms Xia Zhuoqiong, the Makerere University Confucius Institute director. 

Speaking at the handover of the newly renovated buildings that house the Institute, Ms Zhuoqiong said students and graduates should learn the Chinese languages, given the large number of Chinese companies in Uganda. 

Graduates, she said, should take advantage of the Makerere University Confucius Institute because Chinese companies in different parts of Africa, specifically East Africa, want to employ local workers but there are few Africans that speak Chinese.

“Since 2014, we have graduated more than 20,000 students and [most of] these have been employed in Chinese companies as interpreters and managers,” Ms Zhuoqiong said.

China has in the last 20 years become an industrial powerhouse with a lot of influence in the job market.  

Therefore, Ms Zhuoqiong said, to create a pool of talent outside China, a number of students have been supported to secure scholarships to further their studies in China while others are now working in China as expatriates.

Mr Li Jincheng, the president of China Chamber of Commerce, which represents Chinese businesses in Uganda, said they had renovated buildings at the Makerere University Confucius Institute and constructed an administration block, a laboratory, class room blocks and staff houses to boost the quality of employees. 

“We value the quality of education Makerere University gives to Ugandans,” he said.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University vice chancellor, said the renovation and funding injected into the Confucius Institute, illustrates the level of friendship between Makerere University and the government of China.