Mirriam Gakii Kirimi joins the ranks of Kenyan youth who have secured jobs thanks to Kenya being part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of boosting development around the world.
Kirimi, a young woman who grew up in a remote village in Tharaka Nithi County, about 175 km northeast of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, considers the BRI a lifeline for Kenyan youth because it has spurred employment opportunities in the East African country.Kirimi currently works as a translator for Guangxi Hydroelectric Construction Bureau under the China Energy International Group which has undertaken road and dam projects in Kenya.”I acknowledge that my story and dreams would be irrelevant, were it not for the BRI, which has truly opened doors for my career,” Kirimi told Xinhua on Friday during the Belt and Road “My Chinese Story” Speech Competition organized by the Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association.
Kirimi was among the ten finalists from a pool of local employees of Chinese companies based in Kenya who were feted for their outstanding performances in the speech contest.Back in 2015, when she was at the age of 22 and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education at Kenyatta University and also studying the Chinese language, Kirimi was employed as a translator by China Road and Bridge Corporation, which at the time was constructing the 480-km Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway, a flagship project of the BRI.
Due to her outstanding performance at a Chinese Bridge Competition, she won a scholarship to study for a postgraduate degree at the Shandong Normal University in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province. Upon completion in 2019, she returned to Kenya and got a job at Guangxi Hydroelectric Construction Bureau.John Mwangi, a young man who currently works as a translator at AVIC International, credits the BRI for transforming him from a village boy in central Kenya to a confident man who is pursuing ambitious career goals.He said that the turning point in his life was in 2016 when he traveled to China after receiving a scholarship to study at Shandong Normal University for two years. After completing his studies, Mwangi returned to Kenya and got employed by AVIC International where he has been working for the past five years.”China has been good to me and it has given me a lot of opportunities to change my life and those of people around me for the better,” Mwangi, a father of two said.
Another BRI project has provided David Maina Kamore with a secure job that has enabled him to become a breadwinner to his family. Kamore’s link with China began in 2009 when he received a scholarship to study Chinese language at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, and electrical engineering at Chang’an University in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.Upon his return to Kenya in 2014, he was employed at China Aerospace Construction Group Co., Ltd, where he works as a transmission engineer. Kamore said that he is a member of a team that is currently undertaking the Kenya Power Transmission Expansion Project, which aims to connect previously underserved areas of the country to reliable electricity supply.”As a result of the BRI, I am directly contributing to Kenya’s energy sector development and the country’s socioeconomic transformation,” Kamore said.