It’s sad to observe that despite having Chinese contractors in this country for around 15 or so years (assuming Chinese came with Kibaki government-did Moi government construct roads?), there is clear evidence that there is no knowledge transfer taking place in the construction industry in Kenya.
Although it’s understandable that construction is a project based industry and as such there is difficulty implementing an efficient way of transferring knowledge from one project and its involved employees, to another, we can’t can’t give a convincing explanation on the disparities we have seen between our local contractors and the Chinese when it comes to implementation of projects.
Generally, the Chinese have taken our billions and at the same time they have managed to remain with their knowledge. This has greatly obstructed innovations especially on the side of the local contractors. Just to point out how the lack of knowledge transfer is manifesting, let try to compare two projects of similar nature being implemented on the same site by a local and Chinese contractor.
In the first project, we have a local contractor constructing a footbridge along Thika Super High way (Survey area). This local contractor is now 3 years on site and still the bridge is yet to take shape. In the second project, we have a Chinese contractor who has done an overpass at GSU Headquarters in 3 months!
Unless our local contractors up their game and acquire knowledge from Chinese, they will always complain of Chinese take over.
Wagunya Muriu comments on topical issues in the country