Chinese Entrepreneur Dedicated to Sisters' Development in Africa

September 30, 2018  Editor: Xie Wen

A successful Chinese entrepreneur in Kenya has been helping and uniting Chinese women there and furthering local development over the past decades.

In 1998, 31-year-old Bao Ping who worked in a state-owned enterprise was sent to Kenya for engineering contracting. Four years later, upon completion of the project, Bao made an audacious decision to stay in Kenya and start her own business.

In addition to running her venture, over the past 20 years, Bao has also successively served as the vice-president and executive vice-president of the Kenyan Chinese Overseas Chinese Federation due to her influence in the community, where she is in charge of finance and women's work.

With the advancement of the Belt and Road initiative, a large number of Chinese people have gone to seek cooperation with national projects in Kenya. Among them, there are quite a lot of women eager to find a group or organization that lends them a sense of belonging, being so far away from home. Given the circumstance, Bao proposed the establishment of the Kenya Chinese Women's Federation (KCWF) at the International Women's Day Conference organized by the Chinese Embassy in March last year.

Bao's initiative was affirmed by China's ambassador to Kenya and his wife. In May the same year, the KCWF was established and Bao was appointed as president. In a little more than a year the KCWF membership has reached over 200, including 15 members on the board of directors, and eight consultants, who are all social elite in various fields.

Since its establishment, KCWF has been broadly uniting Chinese female compatriots in Kenya, protecting their legal rights, seeking mutual benefits and common development, and vigorously promoting Chinese culture, encouraging them to actively participate in social welfare activities, and promoting bilateral exchange and cooperation.

Bao also led members to organize a series of social activities such as blind dates, a Mid-Autumn Festival party, Chinese children's patriotism education activities, and the first Kenyan Chinese Spring Festival Gala, which has contributed to the evolvement of education for children, the development of young people and women, as well as the dissemination of Chinese culture.

Bao said in recent years, with the comprehensive and rapid development of China-Kenya relations, more and more Chinese companies have invested in Africa in trading and infrastructure construction. Meanwhile, Chinese-funded companies have also provided many employment and development opportunities for local young people, and have greatly promoted the development of the local economy.

"In 1998, we were charged 25 yuan per minute when making long-distance call from Kenya to China; now it only costs 0.2 yuan per minute by mobile phone, which is attributed to Chinese companies China Telecom and Huawei that bring advanced communications technology," said Bao.

"The 480-kilometer-long Mombasa Nairobi Railway, which connects Nairobi to Mombasa, the largest port in East Africa, was built by China with Chinese technology and standards. Since its construction, the railway has driven Kenya's GDP growth by 1.5 percent annually. Though the speed of 120 kilometers per hour may not be as fast as China's high-speed rail, it can be counted as fairly fast in Africa, and a ticket costs only 50 yuan," Bao added.

Besides, the railway has also driven the rapid development of local tourism in Kenya. Now Kenya receives 70,000 Chinese tourists every year, which has played an important role in the country's economy and employment.

Bao said, "I am impressed by President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation when he said that, 'China follows the principle of giving more and taking less, giving before taking, and giving without asking for return. We welcome African countries aboard the express train of China's development.' I am proud of our country's action."

At the same time, Bao also reminds fellow overseas Chinese in Kenya to integrate the idea of win-win cooperation advocated by China into their everyday business and life; to embrace Africa's growth viewing it as an opportunity for their own personal development so as to grow and progress together with Africa; to make efforts to act and do business by law, and improve their ability to protect their rights and interests through legal means.

She also advocates the importation of China's advanced development concepts and outstanding culture to the country, telling the stories of Chinese people, as an effort to contribute to the building of China's soft power.

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)

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