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China expands might in Africa with plans in transportation, aviation school

African students make up the biggest and fastest-growing number of foreign students in China. Source: Shutterstock

As more African students head to Chinese universities, the Asian superpower is ramping up efforts to bring its education and technological know-how to the continent.

Quartz reports China is planning to build five universities focused on transportation, as well as a China-Africa aviation school. In addition to that, 500 African civil aviation personnel will start training in China annually from this year on.

“We wish to help Africa in dealing with challenges such as lack of training opportunities for aviation personnel, poor airport infrastructure and lack of financing for airlines,” Shu Limei, a commercial counsellor for Africa in the Guangdong Province was quoted as saying by African Aerospace Online News Service..

“Aviation is one of the major areas of cooperation in infrastructure and personnel capacity development between Africa and China.”

The infrastructure projects add to China’s growing influence in the continent’s education sector, which already has more than 20 agricultural training centres, 40 Chinese language schools, and various Confucius centres across the continent.

On top of that, 10,000 scholarships will be offered to African officials to study in China over the next decade, China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said last week, according to Quartz.

African students make up the biggest and fastest-growing number of foreign students in China, surpassing traditional favourites like the United States and United Kingdom. This reality is a manifestation of China’s massive expansion of its higher education sector, aimed at matching the global spread of its soft power with its military and economic might.

In an article titled “How China’s education strategy fits into its quest for global influence” published in The ConversationYe Liu, a lecturer in International Development at King’s College London wrote: “For the Chinese government, education is an important instrument in building the country’s global status.”

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