Construction companies develop at pace in Africa

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)


Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is one of the projects SIETC built in Africa. [Photo by Yuan Xing for China Daily]

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has spread across the entire world for more than two years, construction companies from Shanxi have never slowed their pace in expanding in Africa, devoting their efforts to boosting local development and showing the industrial strength of Shanxi.

One example is Shanxi International Economic and Technological Cooperation, or SIETC, a subsidiary of Shanxi Construction Investment Group. SIETC dispatched more than 300 staff members to various construction sites in African countries including Cameroon, Djibouti, Zambia, Benin, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Central Africa, in 2021.

One of the company's major construction projects is the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.

Named after Zambia's former president Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, the hospital was formerly known as Lusaka Comprehensive Hospital. SIETC launched a renovation and expansion project for the hospital in 2017. The renovated hospital, covering 35,000 square meters in floor space and boasting 2,000 sets of medical equipment donated from China, is one of the most advanced medical facilities in Africa.

Wang Bin, an SIETC engineer responsible for the hospital's equipment installation and user training, recalled that construction was completed and equipment installation started in March 2020, at a critical time when the pandemic spread to this African country.

"We were racing against time," Wang said. "To make it a major hospital to treat COVID patients, we launched training courses while equipment installation was still going on."

During the training, Wang and his colleagues explained to trainees every detail relating to the operation of equipment and devices, especially those for contagion prevention.

"Our focus was on the negative-pressure ward, as we were informed the hospital would be used to treat COVID-19 patients in the critical stage," Wang said. "We were happy that trainees were able to get familiar with all the operations very quickly."

The hospital began to receive COVID-19 patients only two days after installations were completed, according to Wang.

Another major project that SIETC built in Africa is the Kagera Vocational School in Tanzania. The school, which can offer long or short-term training to nearly 3,000 students and can offer accommodation to 350 people, is among the largest vocational schools in the country.

Other projects the company has built also include the Mabanda Hospital in Burundi and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia.

Wang Pei contributed to this story.