The young Djiboutian girl Aisha was watching the dispatch centre operations at the Nagad railway station in Djibouti while paying great attention to the many colourful dots and lines flashing on the screen.
Aisha was a member of the first group of students to enrol at the Djibouti Luban Workshop, and she and her classmates were gaining experience at the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway’s Djibouti starting station through an internship programme.
Aisha recently spoke with Xinhua and said that after three years of training, she and about 20 other young Djiboutian students will graduate from the neighbourhood Luban workshop at the end of this year.
The Djibouti Industrial and Commercial High School and the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation launched the Djibouti Luban Workshop in March 2019. It is a cooperative initiative for vocational training that the two Tianjin-based vocational schools are working on. The workshop was Africa’s first of its sort to be founded.
The Djibouti Luban Workshop provides majors such rail transport operation and management in an effort to develop a local talent pool for the railway industry in light of Djibouti’s transportation needs.
The Djibouti workshop exemplifies the expanding China-Africa capacity-building cooperation, as have the roughly a dozen previous workshops established in Africa over the years that provide varied majors and courses adapted to the workforce needs of various African countries.
According to a study released this year by the African Center for Economic Transformation, a non-profit think tank with its headquarters in Accra, by 2030 there would be 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa of working age, with young people making up 37% of that total. To achieve the demographic dividend, however, African governments must solve a number of pressing issues, such as high youth unemployment brought on by inadequate education and infrastructure.
China announced nine cooperation programmes that it planned to jointly implement with African countries over the next three years during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which was held in Senegal a year ago. One of these programmes was the capacity building program.
The Luban workshops have connected Chinese and African vocational schools, assisted in facility upgrades, and given the host nations cutting-edge training and technology as part of the China-Africa cooperation in this area. 12 workshops have already been established in African nations like South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya thanks to cooperation between Chinese and African governments, businesses, and schools.
Various workshops may have various priorities. For instance, the Luban workshop in Djibouti concentrates on cultivating skills in railway operation, while the workshop in Ethiopia aims to enhance the teaching-learning process in the fields of mechatronics, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
Chinese firms like Huawei have been offering ICT training in an effort to hasten Africa’s digital transformation. This month, Huawei opened a fund in Zambia to support the growth of local innovators. By 2025, the fund aims to train 5,000 local youths in ICT skills and at least 50 academics and government employees. Over the next five years, Huawei also intends to train more than 10,000 local ICT professionals in Angola.
In order to strengthen vocational education in Tanzania by creating new vocational standards, a joint project with China was launched in June of this year. The project, according to Adolf Rutayuga, executive secretary of Tanzania’s government-run National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, will aid in the creation of a sizable labour force that is talented and skilled, and it will make sure that graduates of vocational schools are prepared for the demands of the global market.