BRI projects thriving in Middle East

2020-12-15 22:25:19

Not even the pandemic could force Chinese local crews to down tools Workers at the construction site of the Hunutlu thermal power plant in Adana Turkey. The thermal plant is Chinas largest direct investment project in Turkey. [PhotoXinhua] CAIRO-With the COVID19 pandemic gripping most economies in a suffocating hold this year the air has also been squeezed out of crossborder cooperation.But there are exceptions. In deserts and along the coastlines of the Middle East Chinese workers have been working shoulder to shoulder with workers from the host nations. Together they have kept up the pace of construction in a range of projects from landmark buildings to energy production and other infrastructure.These projects are taking shape under the Chinaproposed Belt and Road Initiative or BRI providing hope in otherwise gloomy times and boosting ties between China and countries in the Middle East.The project team focuses on safety standards and we are particularly impressed by the new technologies and methods from China said Yara a student from Egypts Ain Shams University who was visiting the construction site of a central business district that will be part of a new national capital for Egypt. The project is led by China State Construction Engineering Corporation or CSCEC.Located east of Cairo the project brings together Chinese and Egyptian workers. It includes a planned 385meter Iconic Tower which is expected to become the tallest skyscraper in Africa. As such it will be a candidate to join Egypts great landmarks the projects backers say.The tower is a spectacular project built by a perfect team Ibrahim Samy a professor from the Faculty of Engineering and Materials Science at German University in Cairo said after a visit to the site in October.In late November the main structure of the office building had its roofsealing completed a milestone in the project and all the more remarkable considering the difficulties caused by the pandemic.Since the virus struck in Egypt in February all workers are required to wear face masks and gloves ride in designated vehicles and receive regular temperature tests.Turkey is another country in the region enjoying the benefits of cooperation with China.Fang Jie construction manager of the Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant in Turkey said in a letter to his colleagues: After what we have experienced choosing to stay and work for the project will become one of our most beautiful memories. I call it solidarity and brotherhood. Thank you all.Workers undauntedTurkey the worsthit country by COVID19 in the Middle East has registered more than 1.8 million infections. Undaunted 1831 Chinese and Turkish workers have chosen to keep working on the project.To speed up construction 455 Chinese workers flew to Turkey and joined the project in August.Located in the southern province of Adana the Hunutlu project is backed by total investment of 1.7 billion mainly from the Shanghai Electric Power Company. It is the biggest Chinesebacked venture in the country and will stand as a flagship project linking the BRI with Turkeys Middle Corridor-a development vision advanced by Ankara.The power plant is expected to have a capacity of 1320 megawatts after completion and to generate 9 billion kilowatthours every year under full operation. That means it will account for an estimated 3 percent of Turkeys electricity supplies.Xinhua