Interest in Chinese language booms amid growing opportunities: UNECA official -Xinhua

Interest in Chinese language booms amid growing opportunities: UNECA official

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-20 00:13:00

ADDIS ABABA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Interest in learning Chinese is growing rapidly across the African continent and beyond amid a growing desire to discover Chinese culture and take advantage of the socio-economic opportunities China offers, a senior official of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said.

The statement was made by Oliver Chinganya, director of the African Center for Statistics at the UNECA, while addressing an event held to mark the UN Chinese Language Day on Thursday at UNECA Conference Center in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

"China's cultural influence is such that many people are taking an interest in the country's language and culture. There are a number of reasons for this, the most important of which are the desire to discover Chinese culture and the business and economic opportunities that Chinese language skills offer," Chinganya said.

He said the establishment of Confucius Institutes in Africa and throughout the world is a testament to the interest in learning the Chinese language among the public.

"The presence of Confucius Institutes in Africa is evidence of a renewed interest in the language and culture of China and, above all, in the possibility of doing business with the country," he said.

The Chinese language is one of the six working languages of the United Nations. The other five are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

"Despite its reputation for being difficult, both phonetically and grammatically, Chinese remains a very attractive language, with good prospects for the future," he said.

According to the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU), in order to meet the growing demand for Chinese language learning around the world, China has supported Chinese language teaching in more than 190 countries through a series of cooperation projects, including the Confucius Institute, the Center for Chinese Language and Professional Skills, the Chinese Learning and Testing Center, and the Online Chinese Classroom, among others. More than 30 million people are learning Chinese outside China.

In Africa, over 70 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms have been established in 47 countries across the continent, according to the Chinese Mission to the AU.

Back in 2010, the UN decided to designate April 20 as UN Chinese Language Day. The date was specifically chosen to honor Cangjie, a mythical figure in China credited with the invention of Chinese characters.