As China continues to dominate the local construction industry, Chinese companies seem to have discovered a lucrative business opportunity – church-building business.
In the past few years, Chinese companies have dominated the local construction industry, having won many contracts with the Kenyan government.
This dominance has elicited protests among local contractors who blame the government for giving too tough conditions during the tendering of projects.
Perhaps to avoid provoking the local contractors who could incite wananchi to boycott Chinese products, Chinese companies have embarked on less attractive business ventures – building churches across Kenya.
The Chinese have literally grabbed construction jobs occupied in the past by companies from nations that had sent missionaries to Africa.
At the Holy Family Basilica Cathedral in Nairobi, for example, Zhongxing Construction Company of China is busy building an ultra-modern 18-floor office block for the Nairobi Archdiocese – at the lowest possible prices! The company is also credited with the construction of the imposing Faith Evangelistic Ministries church in Karen.
Another Chinese company Fubeco Ltd is diligently building the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Kiambu county, aimed to reach out to the lost souls in the wealthy county. The same company had earlier built Luther Plaza along Nyerere Road, the headquarters of the Lutheran Church of Kenya.
These are just but a few of the churches being put up by Chinese companies across the country.
However, China’s zeal to build churches in Kenya – and Africa in general – raises the big question: Is China slowly turning Christian? This is inconceivable especially for an officially-atheist country that does not permit religious affairs.
Interestingly, China is now home to the world’s largest Bible factory – capable of producing 12 million copies a year or one copy per second in 90 languages including Swahili.
Only time will tell, but the future of Christianity may as well lie in the east. Moreover, perhaps China sincerely wants to put Africa closer to God.