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    Mandarin a favorite of Namibian students

    Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-27 01:45
    [Photo/Xinhua]

    With growing trade relations between Namibia and China, more Namibian students are falling in love with Mandarin.

    "I am only in the first year at university and I chose Chinese as a foreign language as this could broaden my horizons," says Ndapewa Shikongo, a student at the University of Namibia.

    More countries around the world are doing business with China and soon Mandarin will be a most sought-after language, "so why not prepare for it", says Shikongo.

    Andrew Niikondo, deputy vice-chancellor of the Namibian University of Science and Technology, says many African countries stand to benefit immensely from having more students learning Chinese.

    "Namibia's trade relations with China are growing by the day and more deals are being signed between the two countries," says Niikondo.

    "This is creating an opportunity for Namibian graduates to interact more in the business world with their Chinese counterparts," he says.

    As a result, it is imperative that more tertiary education students and even officials learn the language as a way of bridging barriers when doing business, he says.

    Niikondo adds that China is now the next frontier for both African exports as well as reliable business partners for most African governments. And he says that Namibia is not the only country that sees the relevance of incorporating Chinese at universities, but that a host of other countries are also making the same move.

    The trend is now just as popular in countries in the southern African region as it is on the continent as a whole, he says. "It is only wise that as a country Namibia also follows the same path as everyone else."

    In fact, many major universities on the continent are incorporating Mandarin in their management courses as a way of improving the quality of graduates who will in future have to negotiate with Chinese companies coming to Africa, he says.

    Over the past six years, more than 3,000 Namibians have enrolled to learn to speak Mandarin at the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia in partnership with the China University of Geosciences.

    The director of the Confucius Institute, Zhang Fan, says the language is serving as a smooth conveyor belt in strengthening Sino-Namibian relations.

    "Students see that learning Mandarin offers advantages both in the local tourism industry, and in a variety of interactions on the world stage," he says.

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