Business / Industries

Chinese-built roads help boost Nigeria's economy

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-10 10:36

LAGOS -- When celebrating the newly built road that would help promote her business, Ajube Janeth could still remember how sad he was when the old one in front of her house was destroyed by flood five years ago.

"In the past, the road linking to this area was in a poor state, but when the Chinese came, they transformed here and you can see, it looks like small London," said the mother of six.

In 2010, floods caused by heavy rain ravaged parts of Lagos and rendered many residents homeless. Janeth said her trading business was "devastated" and her husband had been the only support to the whole family.

In the same year, the China Railway Construction Corporation (CCECC) won the bid and started constructing the 8.5-kilometer arterial road leading to the LAGOS-IBADAN intercity highway.

Community leader Ismail Taiwo recalled how rainy season always brought hardships on local residents, especially traders, as water often flooded into their shops and stalls.

"The road on both sections become heavily flooded and it is not uncommon to find water flooding into our houses, we carry our wives and children during such periods, business activities become totally paralyzed," he added.

Even though many residents found it hard to believe, the Chinese company completed the $2.7 billion project in less than five years.

"They have shown a great local understanding on our community issues, and they have intervene in quite a number of projects without necessary damaged holding stakeholders meetings with us," said Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola.

The company is also in contract with the Nigerian government to build a 1,400-kilometer railway linking Lagos and the southeastern port of Calabar. The project, with an estimated cost of nearly $1.2 billion is expected to create more than 200,000 jobs.

Chinese constructors have showed more interest in Nigeria in recent years, including the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, who is building roads, a light railway, and airports in the country, power construction companies focusing on power plant, and daily goods producers.

These projects are expected to do more than promoting economy. The Nigerian government also hopes they can help to improve the country's employment.

"We want to appreciate the management of our Chinese company for the great opportunity they have given to us, as a workers, exposing us in terms of seminars to some other level and it gives us a great opportunity to mingle with other contracture workers out there, so we give kudos to them," said Abayomi George, a local union leader of CCECC.

Trade between Nigeria and China has also been on the rise. Statistics from Chinese authority showed trade volume hit more than 18 million dollars in 2014, up more than 30 percent from a year ago.

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