Africa-China ties example for South-South cooperation

22:03, November 19, 2009      

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Ties between developing countries commonly referred to as the South-South Cooperation are increasingly seen as one of the most promising ways to enhance sustainable growth in developing countries like Sierra Leone.

In this regard most developing countries, especially in Africa, have realized that for Africa to develop to meet the Millennium Development Goals, it must forge close cooperation with other developing countries that have been able to forge ahead in various fields of endeavor.

One such country is the People's Republic of China, which has shared its experience and wealth with mainly African nations who are grappling with the problems of under-development.

During the last Sino-African Summit held in Beijing, the government of China not only committed its financial and logistical support to African countries, but also announced measures to strengthen bilateral and pragmatic cooperation between Africa and China, and at the same time encouraged Chinese companies to do business in Africa.

Since then, China’s bilateral and economic partnership with Africa, especially Sierra Leone, has created much needed infrastructure growth and development, as evidenced by the positive role being demonstrated by the China Railway 7th Group in Sierra Leone in the area of road construction.

The company has demonstrated its skills and expertise in the Makeni-Matotoka road in the northern region of Sierra Leone, and the Bo-Kenema Project in the southeastern part of the country which they have completed in record time to the admiration of both their clients and the beneficiaries.

The China Railway Group ranks 242nd in the Global 500 companies in the world. The projects are World Bank funded and supervised by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority.

According to the Contract Agreement, the projects are to resurface and rehabilitate the existing 37.5 km Makeni-Matotoka highway that became considerably worn out years ago, as well as the 67.5 km Bo-Kenema highway.

With a dint of hard work and a successful site organizational ability demonstrated by the Chinese contractors, the company has completed the major aspects of both projects, including the resurfacing and rehabilitation of the 37.5 km Makeni-Matotoka road network, together with the 67.5 km Bo-Kenema highway.

The project which was scheduled to be completed by October was completed by June.

Under the supervision of the SLRA and the World Bank which awarded the contract, the Chinese contractors ensured that they satisfied the contract specification with both road networks built with high quality asphalt concrete.

The asphalt concrete surfacing was completed by June while the auxiliary works were completed before the end of October, notwithstanding all the difficulties and constraints they faced, including inadequate materials from the local market and the long rainy season. The company had to make contingency arrangements to get materials not available locally to ensure the speedy completion of the projects.

Apart from that, the Chinese construction firm made it as part of their contribution to upgrade some streets in the Makeni Township and provided aggregates for the Magburaka Boys Secondary School -- free of charge.

The project also provided employment for Sierra Leoneans, especially the youth, and afforded them on-the-job training in the area of civil works.

The completed Makeni-Matotoka project has already been handed over to the SLRA, who have commended the company for its magnificent work, noting that they were satisfied with the timeliness in which the work has been done, and describing it as the first in Sierra Leone's history.

With the completion of this project, the China Railway Seventh Group have demonstrated good performance by accomplishing their work in record time and setting the pace for keen competition in the area of road construction.

An official of the company told Xinhua's correspondent who visited the sites that they were always ready to offer quality service to the government and people of Sierra Leone, so as to maintain the continued good relationship between China and Sierra Leone.

Residents within the project site commended the high quality job undertaken by the Chinese, noting that the project has helped to upgrade the existing road network to a modern paved all weathered road, thereby enhancing vehicular movement within their area and between the Northern Region and the Eastern Region. They hope that other construction companies will emulate the Chinese example.

The China Railway 7th Group has offices and projects in other parts of Africa, including Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, Botswana, Uganda, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco and South Africa.

Source: Xinhua
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