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China Expanding Its Collaborative Efforts with Africa by Building Transportation Schools to Train Aviation Pros

Nearly 500 aviation personnel from Africa will begin training this year. (Photo by Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

China is upping its investment efforts in Africa by working to train the continent’s next generation of transportation and aviation professionals.

Plans to create five transportation universities and a China-Africa civil aviation school on the continent are expected to move forward, Professor Yongli Xie, Dean of the School of Highway at the Chang’an University in Xi’an, China, announced at a conference in South Africa last week. Xie said China would also explore the possibility of building infrastructure for aviation ground services.

These latest efforts are a part of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation, a collaborative established in October 2000 that includes China and 51 African states. Earlier this year, Chinese officials announced that 500 aviation personnel from Africa would begin training in China starting this year.

“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 counselor for Africa in the Guangdong Province, told the African Aerospace Online News Service. “Aviation is one of the major areas of cooperation in infrastructure and personnel capacity development between Africa and China.”

Quartz Africa reported that there are over 20 Chinese-run agricultural training centers and more than 40 Chinese language schools across the continent. Last week, China’s minister of foreign affairs, Wang Yi, said his government would offer 10,000 scholarships to African officials to study in China over the next 10 years.

The Mandarin-speaking nation is already the No. 1 destination for African students from English-speaking countries, according to the new site. Recent data from the FOCAC show that nearly 73.8 million Africans visited China in 2014.

The communist nation stands to benefit from its recent education efforts both socially and financially.

In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to make building vocational schools one of his country’s top priorities. Such an expansion of Africa’s aviation sector would boost sales of China’s civilian and military aircraft, according to Quartz Africa. The nation’s government-owned aerospace and defense company, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, already has at least nine of its 50-seat Xian MA-60 planes in Africa and established a repair and maintenance center for them in Tanzania.

The upcoming projects are expected to spur more lucrative transportation links between China and Africa.

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