China’s not-inconsiderable influence in Africa is set to increase next year, when Zambia becomes the fourth country on the continent — after Kenya, Uganda and SA — to introduce Mandarin at its schools.

The Zambian government announced earlier this month that it would roll out Mandarin classes from grades 8 to 12 at its 1,000-plus secondary schools from 2020 — the largest such programme in Africa. It’s a move that the government says is underpinned by commercial considerations: it’s thought the removal of communication and cultural barriers will boost co-operation and trade between the two countries...

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