Confucius Institute at Moi University (CIMU), the fourth of its kind in Kenya, was officially launched Monday in Eldoret town of the country's western region.
The institute, founded in collaboration with Shanghai-based Donghua University, offers Chinese language and culture to Moi University students, local residents, and workers at the university's affiliated textile company, Rivatex. It also serves as a communication platform for those who are interested in Sino- African business and cooperation projects.
In a speech read by Chinese counselor Yao Ming at the launching ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said the founding of CIMU shows solid and deep friendship between both the governments and people of the two countries, as well as Kenyan people's passion of Chinese language and culture.
He said Donghua University, which takes the lead in China's textile technology, has its own advantages in textile science and engineering, while Moi University is also specialized in textile science, with Rivatex being a key project that enjoys great support from the Kenyan government.
The ambassador said he hopes both sides could work together to create a model for Sino-Kenya industrial cooperation through the institute, and on the other hand, promote cultural and people-to- people exchanges between the two countries.
Kenyan Principal Secretary for Education Richard Kipsang said in a speech read on his behalf that as the fourth Confucius Institute in the country, the CIMU is a testimony of good bilateral relationship between Kenyan and Chinese governments, and will serve Kenya's western region.
He said he is "optimistic that the institute will be able to produce competent students", adding that Kenyan institutions, through programs like this, will champion further development in new emerging industries such as petroleum oil, gas and aviation engineering.
Currently, some 300 students and workers have enrolled in different language courses offered by the newly-launched institute.
"Over 50 my colleagues have took the Chinese language course here even before its launching. I want to further my study someday, probably in Donghua, through my study at institute here," said Charles Lagat, a work with Rivatex.
Maureen Wambui, a sophomore majored in hospitality at Moi University, said her Chinese learning here at CIMU might secure her a better job in the future.
"I prefer a Chinese restaurant or hotel, and we already got one here in Eldoret. I also want to make Chinese food and know something about Chinese tea culture," she added.
Confucius Institute is an education and cultural exchange organization set up by Hanban of China in all parts of the world to spread Chinese language teaching and Chinese culture.
According to the 2014 official statistics, China has opened 475 Confucius Institutes and 851 Confucius classrooms across 126 countries and regions worldwide.
In Africa, the first Confucius Institute was founded in 2015 in Kenya's University of Nairobi. By far, there have been some 40 Confucius Institutes in over 30 countries across the continent.