Yearender: Major Chinese projects in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016

Updated 2016-12-29 17:37:34 Xinhua

From electrified railways to hydro power plants, a number of Chinese projects continued to spring up and boost development in Africa this year amid blossoming Sino-African cooperation.

The following is a Xinhua review on major Chinese-built or Chinese-funded infrastructure projects that began or finished construction in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016:

ETHIOPIA-DJIBOUTI RAILWAY

Ethiopia on Oct. 5 launched its first electrified railway linking its capital and Djibouti, with officials hailing the Chinese-built rail as the latest testament to the Sino-African friendship.

The 752.7-km Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, also known as Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, will avail landlocked Ethiopia a faster access to the sea (via Djibouti port), reducing travel time from seven days on roads to about 10 hours.

The railway was hailed by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang as the "Tazara railway in a new era," referring to the railway linking Tanzania's Dar es Salaam with Zambia's Kapiri Mposhi that China sent over 50,000 workers to build in the 1970s despite its own economic difficulties.

Constructed by China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, the railway features the use of a complete sets of Chinese equipment and standards. It is also the second trans-national railway built by Chinese in Africa, following the Tazara.

NAIROBI-NAIVASHA RAILWAY

Kenya on Nov. 19 launched the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project, being built by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and funded by China's Exim Bank.

The project is the phase A of Nairobi-Malaba SGR Project and an extension of the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR. The 120.4-km line starts from the Kenyan capital city to Malaba, a border city between Kenya and Uganda.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the modern railway line would catalyze Kenya's industrial transformation and position the country as an investment hub.

ABUJA-KADUNA RAILWAY

The Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway, linking Nigeria's capital Abuja and the northwestern state of Kaduna, was open for commercial operation in July.

The 186.5-km line was built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation with nine stations and a designed speed of 150 km per hour.

The railway is part of the railway modernization initiative by Nigeria to replace the existing narrow gauge system with the wider standard gauge system, while allowing high-speed train operations on the railway network.

NYERERE BRIDGE

Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam added a new urban landmark on April 19 when the Chinese-built Nyerere Bridge, or Kigamboni Bridge, opened to traffic as the largest cable-stayed cross-sea bridge in East Africa.

The 680-meter-long, six-lane bridge now offers a shortcut from Dar es Salaam's CBD to the Kigamboni district. Prior to its opening, many local residents have relied on wooden boat ferry to cross the creek separating the two places.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has named the bridge Nyerere in recognition of the country's founding leader -- Julius Nyerere.

It was built by China Railway Construction Engineering Group in a joint venture with China Railway Major Bridge Group.

GIBE III HYDRO POWER PLANT

Ethiopia on Dec. 17 inaugurated the Gibe III hydro power plant, which will further enhance the country's reputation as a hydro powerhouse in East Africa.

The Gibe III project boasts a generating capacity of 1,870 MW, which will raise Ethiopia's power generation capacity to more than 4,260 MW.

Located in the Southern Regional State, Gibe III has been contracted by Salini Impregilo of Italy for the civil works, and Dong Fang Electric Corp. of China for the electromechanical works. A loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) financed 60 percent of the cost.

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