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Chinese People in Africa: An Inside View Into Their Daily Lives (Translation) Part 6 – Kenya

Chinese law magazine “Rule of Law Weekly” interviewed six Chinese people who are working in Africa.  Each individual works in a different country and they all have a story to tell.  The following is the sixth installment in the six-part series.
Kenya
Rule of Law Weekly reporter Gao Yin   Translation by Erik Myxter
“First I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience.  Secondly I was young and thought that maybe in the future I will not have the chance to go to Africa, so why not go and have a look?” With this kind of a mindset in the end of the 2011 Liu Yu (pseudonym) went to the East African country of Kenya to work for the company Zoomlion.
Initially he came to this country famous for its top-class long-distance runners and was surprised to find out the country’s weather was like a continuous spring with temperatures at 25 degrees Celsius a year.  When he went to the local Chinese supermarket and was able to buy Wang Shou Yi (a famous Chinese brand) seasoning, his initial strangeness to the country was cut in half.  With everything going in his favor, he adapted to live in the “Kenyan mode”
Liu Yu mainly works in sales, irrigation building and trade.
While speaking with customers, Liu Yu received much of his information about local laws, procedures and news.
“For example I learned about clearing customs, the products under law that are subject to taxes and information about duty and VAT.  Another example of some news he learned was when the new president of Zambia took office he issued a decree that bound the customs and Inland revenue Department and now all data can be directly linked to customs in effort to prevent corruption.” He said.
As for Kenya’s law environment, Liu Yu thinks highly of it saying, “Kenya’s law environment is loose, as long as you comply with the law and behave yourself, don’t kill people, and don’t start fires then no one gives you any trouble.”
In a blink of an eye, Liu Yu found himself to have already been in Kenya for over a year.  During this time he occasionally goes to Tanzania and Zambia.  In these three countries the local people say Chinese enterprises are very good.  “They will point at a road and say, ‘This is a road Chinese people built, Very good!’”
During Liu Yu’s time in Kenya there has been one man who has given him a deep impression.
“Before there was man who was a cleaner at a hotel I was staying at.  He was very enthusiastic and brought me to many markets where I could buy things in Nairobi.  He didn’t take any money for his help and he didn’t often say ‘we are friends’ in a fake manner.  He was very caring and honest.”
As for the future, Liu Yu is sure to consider himself as someone who likes to create the foundations for the benefit of future generations.  “If I start getting close to 30 years old, and am still in Africa starting a business, this will be hard to accept for my personality.”
Liu Yu feels that relative to Europe, America and Asia, Africa is a little child with a massive amount of space to grow in the future.  “So in order to evaluate Africa, I think you must start by understanding the continent and to be inclusive to its development perspective.”
肯尼亚
法治周末记者 高欣
“一是多见识、多历练;二是考虑到现在年轻,以后年纪大了,总不会去大非洲旅游吧?于是先去看看。”抱着这样的念头,2011年年末,刘宇(化名)被中联重科股吧)派至东非国家肯尼亚。
最初来到这个盛产顶级长跑运动员的国度,刘宇有些惊讶于这里“全年25摄氏度、四季如春”的气候。当他在当地的中国超市买到王守义十三香时,最初的陌生感消融了一大半。而自从带了象棋去杀遍四方无敌手后,他正式适应了“肯尼亚模式”。
刘宇的工作主要是销售、渠道、市场。
在和客户的聊天中,刘宇获得了许多国家法律法规的信息。
“比如海关清关,法律规定该产品需交多少税,duty和VAT的比重各占多少;又比如赞比亚总统上台后就颁布法令,将海关, 税务局绑定,以后税务局能直接关联海关所有数据,以防止贪弊之风。”他说。
对于肯尼亚的法治环境,刘宇评价很高:“肯尼亚环境相当宽松,只要安分守己,不杀人、不放火,自然没人找麻烦。”
一转眼,在肯尼亚已一年多。期间,他还偶尔跑坦桑尼亚和赞比亚。在这三个国家,当地老百姓都说中国企业“顶呱呱”。“他们会指着一条路对你说:这是中国人修的路,顶呱呱!”
在刘宇的肯尼亚生活中,一位本地小伙儿给他留下了深刻印象。
“这个小伙子之前在我们酒店里打扫房间。他很热情,给我介绍内罗毕哪些地方可以买到好东西,还专门带我去看过市场。他也不收钱,也很少会有‘we are friends’这种大路话。他善良、正直。”
对于未来,刘宇直言,自己比较喜欢当“前人栽树、后人乘凉”的后人。“如果要一路筚路蓝缕30年,在非洲热土开创事业,这依我的性格比较难接受。”他说。
刘宇觉得,相对于欧美、亚洲,非洲还只是一个蹒跚学步的小孩儿,未来发展空间巨大。“所以要评价非洲,我觉得要先理解这片大陆,要用包容的、发展的眼光看。

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