Belt and Road Initiative brings more than national-level projects to improve people’s livelihood across globe
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is much more than just multi-billion-dollar projects to boost the nation’s development. Chinese constructors overseas are also changing the lives of ordinary people under the grand strategy through smaller projects, from drinking facilities to village roads.
The world’s largest power utility company, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), has completed several leading grid projects across the world, including a 660kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line in Pakistan and a 800kV HVDC transmission project in Brazil.
Not only are the above projects a milestone for those nations and even their continent, but the Chinese company is also bringing changes to local residents’ everyday life, noted Yu Naichun, deputy chief engineer and general manager of China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co., Ltd. under the SGCC, at a Friday forum hosted by People’s Daily Online.
In Ethiopia, where the world’s largest 500 KV power transmission and transformation project has been completed, power grids in eight cities have been renovated along with the transmission line, benefiting over 60,000 people. The Chinese company built 300 kilometers of village roads during project construction, which helped create 15,000 jobs for local residents, including 1,900 technician posts. It also set up 10 playgrounds for local schools, according to Yu.
Similarly, Hu Bin, special assistant to the president of Golden Concord Group Ltd., introduced at the forum that one of their solar energy projects in Ethiopia created more than 2,000 jobs, many of which were better paid than the nation’s average. In addition to 123-kilometer roads, the company dug six wells for drinking water, ending the time when locals had to draw water from rivers. Constructors also built an 80-ton bridge across a river that has taken the lives of many people during flooded season.
It has become a common practice for Chinese companies to build basic infrastructure projects overseas for free during the construction of bigger ones to boost project efficiency and improve people’s livelihood, Yan Li, chief information officer with CITIC Construction, observed at the forum.
Yan said CITIC Construction introduced an occupational school in Angola, giving former military men in the country a new path of development. In Myanmar, the company also established 100 public welfare funds, and built 50 primary schools along with 50 clinics.
Meanwhile, it is equally important to bridge the development gap and people’s mindset with the promotion of science and technology, which is where the “Digital Silk Road” is useful, noted Tian Feng, director of Alibaba Cloud Research Center, the cloud service provider of many Chinese companies doing businesses under the Belt and Road Initiative.
According to Tian, Alibaba now provides cloud services in 33 regions to thousands of companies across the world, from 15,000 small startups to major industry giants such as Schneider Electrics and Singapore Post. “Basic infrastructure is the foundation for everything, including the digital economy. Thanks to cloud technology – a basic infrastructure in the digital world, one can now explore different markets and boost upgrading in industry and consumption,” Tian said.