Feature: Chinese green business offers lifelong skills, income to Kenyan youth-Xinhua

Feature: Chinese green business offers lifelong skills, income to Kenyan youth

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-13 21:24:45

This photo taken on May 2, 2024 shows electric vehicles displayed at Hanlin Africa New Energy Technology Company Limited in Nairobi, Kenya. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

by Naftali Mwaura

NAIROBI, May 13 (Xinhua) -- With a confident swag, Moses Kimani chatted with clients at the entrance of Hanlin Africa New Energy Technology Company Limited (Hanlin Africa), a Chinese firm dealing with the assembly and sale of electric vehicles located south of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Besides his elevated confidence levels, the 27-year-old geography and environmental studies major is passionate about enlightening fellow compatriots why they should opt for green mobility, championed by his employer.

Kimani joined Hanlin Africa nearly two years ago, and his zeal for promoting electric vehicles and two- and three-wheelers (boda-bodas and tuk-tuks) locally is unrivaled, informed by a desire to revolutionize mobility in Kenya, tackle carbon emissions, and churn out green jobs for the youth.

"Electric mobility is helping the youth; it has a very huge potential in the future. Our products have captured a lot of interest in the local market," Kimani told Xinhua during a recent interview at Hanlin Africa's assembly line.

Hanlin Africa, a subsidiary of China Yilian International (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd. and a sister company of Zhongshan Hanlin Energy Technology Co. Ltd., commenced its Kenyan operations on March 9, 2023.

The company has more than 30 local employees, including over 20 frontline workers, and occupies an area covering 4,700 square meters that accommodates a production workshop, a research and development center, warehouses and an exhibition hall.

Kimani and his youthful peers are proud to be associated with the Chinese maker of new energy vehicles, given the skills, exposure, sustainable income and career mobility it guarantees them.

Hanlin Africa has elevated green mobility in Kenya a notch higher through the assembly, marketing, and sale of affordable electric vehicles, he said.

Kimani, who is the head of marketing, said that in the course of his work, he has gained vital skills from his Chinese supervisors like client engagement, discipline and business acumen.

He noted that motorcycle riders, the majority of whom are youth, are enthusiastic about switching to electric models to cut fuel bills and aid the country's transition to clean mobility.

Irene Mutie, a 24-year-old sales and marketing major who is now a sales representative at Hanlin Africa, said that compared to her previous employers, the Chinese firm has an edge in passing technical skills to local youth.

Mutie admitted that before joining Hanlin Africa, she had a scant understanding of electric vehicles, but now, thanks to training and mentorship, she is now able to explain their benefits to clients eloquently.

One of the most outstanding aspects of Chinese new energy firms, she said, is their ability to improve their technologies and pass on lifelong skills and knowledge to local employees.

"The skills that we have gained so far are good. We are able to see how electric bikes are assembled. We have also learned the importance of discipline and respect for others," Mutie said.

She added that Hanlin Africa has aligned its operations with Kenya's quest to become a hub for green mobility that promises a sustainable, richer, and more secure future for the East African nation.

Awareness about the benefits of electric vehicles among Kenyans has shot up, given the increasing number of visitors who troop to her employer's premises to survey and bargain for new energy-moving machines such as tuk-tuks, boda-bodas and bicycles.

According to Mutie, the majority of customers are people aged 18 to 30, who appear more enlightened about new energy vehicles, their low maintenance costs, and their environmental benefits.

Going forward, for the electric mobility revolution to benefit a critical mass of local youth, the government should enact supportive policies and legislation to encourage investments in that space, Mutie said.

One balmy morning, Isaac Ng'etich, a 38-year-old salesman in the construction sector, grinned as he tried his hand at a sleek electric motorbike at Hanlin Africa's exhibition hall.

Ng'etich said he would buy the electric bike, convinced that it would save him a daily fuel bill amounting to 500 Kenyan shillings (about 3.7 U.S. dollars), besides offering comfort on long road trips.

Initiated in early 2023, Hanlin Africa has quickly become a beacon for career and skill development for Kenyan youth, empowering them with not just jobs but also vital skills and knowledge about green technologies.

Underpinning the importance of local participation in green businesses, Liu Huixiang, head of Hanlin Africa, emphasized the strategic focus of the firm's investments.

"We need to have local staff run the business, which keeps our investment meaningful and focused on local empowerment," Liu said, adding that this philosophy not only nurtures local talent but also ensures that the benefits of foreign investment are deeply integrated into the community.

Moses Kimani speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 2, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

Liu Huixiang, head of Hanlin Africa New Energy Technology Company Limited, speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 2, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

A staff member assembles components and parts of an electric vehicle at the warehouse of Hanlin Africa New Energy Technology Company Limited in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 2, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

Consumers try an electric vehicle at Hanlin Africa New Energy Technology Company Limited in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 2, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)