Biar Chagai Atem (R) a 31-year-old South Sudanese who studied computer science at Xi’an University of Science and Technology and Daniel Chol (L) who studied for his civil engineering degree in 2010 at Chang'an University at the Chinese Embassy in Juba

Ten years of China-South Sudan exchanges transforms careers of South Sudanese

By Denis Elamu

Ten years of China-South Sudan exchanges that commenced prior to independence of the latter in 2011 have transformed careers of several students in the youngest nation.

Biar Chagai Atem, a 31-year-old South Sudanese is among the early group of students who traveled in 2010 to attend undergraduate studies in China.

He went on self- sponsorship to study for his bachelor’s degree in computer science and technology at Xi’an University of Science and Technology in Shaanxi province.

Atem told The Juba Echo on Tuesday in Juba, that the skills and knowledge acquired from his studies in China have made him proud to be among the few tech-savvy people in his country.

Atem now a member of the newly founded South Sudan-China Alumni Association (SSCAA) was snapped up by Chinese telecom giant Huawei in 2015.

“In 2015, I got employed with Chinese telecom giant Huawei in Juba but I left work due to renewed violence in July 2016,” said Atem.

“I learnt skills in web designing, multi-media and software engineering and the Chinese language, I dream of opening up business dealing in information technology and software engineering. I want to partner with other skilled people in IT from neighboring countries in East Africa to offer service to my people,” he said.

Daniel Chol 32, studied for his civil engineering degree in 2010 at Chang’an University in Shaanxi Province also on self-sponsorship.

He was also taken up by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) that is renovating and expanding the Juba International Airport.

 However, Chol regrets the renewed violence in 2016 that forced him to flee the country abandoning his work with CHEC.

“I have limited opportunities to put into use my knowledge, whenever I apply for jobs I never get opportunity to practice theoretically my skills and knowledge,” said Chol who is currently searching for employment.

In 2017, Chol said he returned to China to study Chinese language and he is hoping to have other opportunities with major Chinese construction firms in the country.

“The South Sudan-China Alumni Association will help unite all South Sudanese who have studied in China to share ideas and knowledge in order to help our country develop,” he said.

“The association should cooperate with Chinese embassy so that the graduates from the various Chinese universities can be helped to acquire employment opportunities with Chinese companies,” disclosed Chol.


Sadia James (R) who studied for her master’s in public administration at Tsinghua University in Beijing together with Itoo Emmanuela (L) who studied oil and gas storage and transportation at China University of Petroleum at the Chinese Embassy in Juba

Sadia James 30, studied for her master’s in public administration majoring in international development and governance at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2017.

She now works as office manager in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) where she has had opportunities to share her experience from China with Mps.

James said she admires the efficiency and effectiveness with which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) executes development projects and service delivery.

“What we have here (South Sudan) is good ideas, policies and laws but we don’t adhere to them and also implement them. When you compare China with other countries the difference is that the Chinese implement laws and policies without segregation,” said James.

Itoo Emmanuela, who studied oil and gas storage and transportation at China University of Petroleum in Beijing was lucky to get employment with South Sudan Petroleum Pipelines, where she has utilized her knowledge in drafting technical, commercial and research proposals at her work station.

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