The first Confucius Institute in the Democratic Republic of Congo was founded on Aug 21 in Kinshasa, capital of this Central African country.
This is a significant event before the opening of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which is being held in the Chinese capital city on Sept 3 and 4, according to Wang Tongqing, Chinese ambassador to the country.
Wang said the institute is the fruit of the successful, practical exchanges between China and the DRC.
The school is jointly operated by the Central South University based in China’s Hunan province, and the Foreign Affairs University of DRC.
Professor Dede Birhonga Ndemba, president of the DRC Foreign Affairs University, attended the 12th Confucius Institute Conference in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, on Aug 12, and was granted the license of the new institute by the Confucius Institute headquarters.
He visited Changsha, Hunan province, on Aug 15, to discuss with Central South University Vice-President Zhou Kechao the operations of the Confucius Institute in Kinshasa, according to a report posted on the Chinese university’s official website.
During the opening ceremony of the institute in Kinshasa, Wang said he hopes the institute can train more talented professionals for the African country and further promote the cultural and educational exchanges between China and the DRC.
More than 100 representatives including government officials and delegates from the country’s educational, cultural and business circles attended the opening ceremony.
The Confucius Institute is a nonprofit public educational organization affiliated to China’s Ministry of Education, whose purpose is to promote Chinese language and culture, support Chinese-language teaching overseas and facilitate cultural exchanges.
Since its establishment in 2004, more than 500 Confucius institutes have been opened globally, according to the institutes’ headquarters.
The opening of the institute in Kinshasa is a sign of the recently intensified exchanges between China and DRC.
Earlier on Aug 17, the Chinese embassy in Kinshasa held a ceremony to send more than 50 local students to study in China.
The students will be given a scholarship from the Chinese government, according to Wang.
Wang emphasized at the ceremony that the growth of every country should rely on sustained training of qualified, talented professionals.
He added that he expects the students to study hard in China and contribute to the revitalization of their home country.
According to the ambassador, the China-DRC educational collaborations include a Chinese government scholarship to help more than 50 students study in China every year and trainings in China for dozens of DRC professionals annually.
On Aug 8, the National Library of DRC, which was renovated by a Chinese company, reopened to the public.
Local officials said the upgraded library will once again become a favorite venue for students, scholars and residents, according to a report on the website of the Chinese embassy in Kinshasa.
Another highlight of fruitful exchanges was the DRC-China Friendship Association founded on July 7 at the Chinese embassy in Kinshasa.
Wang said the association is expected to inject new vigor to the already booming bilateral ties.
“We hope this association will play a more important role in promoting political, business and cultural exchanges between our two countries,” Wang said.
According to the embassy, China has been an active player in helping with the country’s socioeconomic development through aid, preferential loans and training.
In Kinshasa, the Chinese-built DRC government complex was completed in December 2017 — the latest among 12 infrastructural projects included in a package of recent agreements between China and DRC, according to Wang. And this is not the last, because a cultural and arts center has been planned, the ambassador added.
In the fight against the recent Ebola virus outbreak in the country, the local people have not only received medicines and cash from the Chinese people, but also have had their diseases treated by volunteer doctors from China, according to Wang.
“During the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, more concrete plans, both at a strategic level and in a longer term, will be mapped out, to further build up trust between China and Africa,” Wang said, adding that “the people of DRC, as well as people from the rest of Africa, will benefit.”