Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda has decided to make Mandarin, the Chinese language compulsory.

Globalisation drives and the internet have brought human beings from all corners of the world closer to each. This is witnessed by the increased international mobility and trade. One of the biggest factors that have led to the integration of humanity is language, the English language in particular.

The global geopolitics is changing and China is rising as a new force to reckon and is also on a mission to conquer as many countries as possible through economic and cultural value exchange. The country has unearthed fertile ground for growth in the cash-strapped and badly managed African countries.

China has signed some opaque deals with some of the worst regimes on the African continent. China has simply presented a unique value proposition to African leaders which satisfy their immediate needs and not necessarily in the future.

In its quest to be a legitimate super-power China is exerting pressure on African governments to incorporate Mandarin as part of school curricula. Clearly China is employing a hybrid model of both hard and soft diplomacy towards the needy African nations and their leaders.

It remains to be seen how far the Chinese influence on the African continent goes and how much it has overtaken the inward-looking United States of America.

The adoption of Mandarin as a compulsory subject by Uganda is just but a tip of the iceberg. What do you think?


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Edzai Conilias Zvobwo is passionate about empowering Africans through mathematics, problem-solving techniques and media. As such, he founded MathsGee. Through this organisation, he has helped create an ecosystem for disseminating information, training, and supporting STEM education to all African people. A maths evangelist who teaches mathematical thinking as a life skill, Edzai’s quest has seen him being named the SABC Ambassador for STEM; he has been invited to address Fortune 500 C-suite executives at the Mobile 360 North America; was nominated to represent Southern Africa at the inaugural United Nations Youth Skills Day in New York; was invited to be a contributor to the World Bank Group Youth Summit in 2016; has won the 2014 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development award for his contribution to women’s empowerment in education; and has partnered with local and global firms in STEM interventions.