Barry’s Gleanings: Angola
One reason we like to travel is we see the daily news from different perspectives than we find at home in the U.S. The China English language CCTV, for instance, has a daily news report from Africa – of mainly good news – not just Ebola, HIV, war, and strife. An example is a Nov. 17, 2014, news article, “Changing the face of real estate in Angola,” by Li Jing in the business section of the China Daily.
“Since Angola’s civil war ended in 2002, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer has surged economically, with a 5.1 percent growth rate in 2013.
The government has invested heavily to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, in an effort dubbed by the leaders as ‘national reconstruction.’ Construction of new roads, railways, schools and hospitals has cost tens of billions of dollars.
With its abundance of resources that include crude oil, diamonds and gold, the southern African nation has seen scores of China’s State-owned enterprises and private companies enter its borders hoping for an economic opportunity.
In 2008, CITIC Construction Co, a State-owned enterprise and one of the largest construction companies in the world, joined the nation’s reconstruction efforts.
‘We are an active and responsible player in the country’s post-war reconstruction process,’ says Liu Guigen, president of the African regional division of CITIC Construction . . .
That year, the company won a bid to build housing in Kilamba Kiaxi, one of the capital city of Luanda’s six urban districts that is located 30 kilometers from downtown. . . .
Last year, the $10 billion project was completed with a total of 20,000 residential homes, 200 retail stores, 24 kindergartens, nine primary schools and eight middle schools. CITIC claims 90 percent of the homes are already occupied.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos hailed the satellite city project as a model for the country’s post-war reconstruction.
CITIC Construction, which was tasked with mapping out the satellite city’s overall development strategy, worked with about 40 other enterprises from China to install water, sewage and electricity systems.
The companies then set up a 300-strong team to train Angolans on maintenance and security work for the neighborhoods. . . .
Backed by the success in Kilamba Kiaxi, the company is now working with other Angolan city governments to build similar housing projects. It is also exploring opportunities in the nation’s farming sector to help reduce Angola’s dependence on food imports to feed its population of 18 million.
‘Angola has so much fertile land, but it is also a large food importer,’ Liu says. . . .
The company has also invested heavily in the country’s school system.
In May 2014, the CITIC BN Vocational School was founded in Luanda to provide free vocational training for impoverished city youths from ages of 16 to 25. The students can learn skills in electrical and mechanical engineering and will eventually be recruited by the Chinese company after graduation. . . .
Since 1999, when China encouraged its State-owned companies to invest overseas, CITIC Construction has conducted almost 95 percent of its work abroad. It says that 60 percent of its business is in the African market.
‘We are confident that we will expand projects across Africa in 2016,’ Liu says.
CITIC Construction plans to kick off new projects in Kenya and Cameroon at the end of this year” (p. 14).
It’s wonderful to know that good things are happening in Africa.
Aloha & Zaì jiàn, Barry & Renée