Chinese-built water projects boost living standards in Angola

Despite the rich water resources of rivers and lakes throughout Angola, poor water quality and lack of water-related infrastructure in the country have long limited access to safe drinking water for population and hampered the development of industries.

However, things are changing for the better. Chinese companies have helped Angola develop hydropower plants, drought relief projects and water supply facilities and tap into abundant water resources to develop the economy and raise living standards.

Safer water, better health

Insufficient access to clean water in Angola has increased the risk of the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera and dysentery. “Bringing drinking water to the people” has become a tender for Chinese companies based there.

A water supply project in the northwest province of Cabinda, built by the China Railway 20th Bureau Group Angola International Company, was completed in June.

Zhu Qihui, chairman of the board of the group’s subsidiary in Angola, said the project includes 74 centralized water supply points, covering 24,000 households or 92 percent of residential communities in the province.

Zhu added that the project could provide water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which would greatly reduce the supply shortage faced by local industries, schools and port transport.

“Before, it was a long walk to the well to fetch water, and the task was very exhausting,” said Adriano, a local resident who did not give his full name, adding that more than 400 households in his community were affected by the water. shortage for decades.

“Now the water pipe is connected to our door and we can use clean and hygienic tap water every day,” Adriano said.

“Angola does not lack water, but water resources are not used efficiently. Thanks to Chinese companies, the situation is improving,” Angolan Economy and Planning Minister Mario Augusto said. Caetano João.

“Chinese enterprises have contributed technology and experience to improve local livelihoods and revitalize sustainable development,” the minister said.

Positive economic effect

The uneven temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall in Angola has long been a major obstacle for agriculture and the economy.

For example, the province of Cunene, in the south of Angola, is dry for nine months a year.

Recalling an acute drought in 2018, Augusto, a local villager who did not give his full name, said: “Fields were cracked by the sun, thirsty cattle were everywhere and countless people were forced to flee to the neighboring country of Namibia”.

Nevertheless, seasonal drought no longer threatens residents after the commissioning in April of Lots 1 and 2 of the Cunene Province Drought Relief Infrastructure Project, implemented by the Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina).

With canals connecting the Cunene River and facilities such as pumping stations and water intake reservoirs, the project can transfer water from the river to dry areas, allowing irrigation of arable land when the rains fall. missing.

The project can meet the water needs of 235,000 people and support the irrigation of 5,000 hectares of farmland, said Zhao Yong, general manager of the South and West Africa branch of STECOL Corporation under PowerChina.

During a visit to the site in May, Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, said the global body would consider expanding the project model to other countries and regions. hit by drought.

Social benefit

The Kwanza River, one of the longest rivers in Angola that has fed generations of Angolans, is considered the “mother river” of the African country.

With many tributaries, the river is full of hydroelectric potential, but how to unlock its potential was a chronic puzzle for locals until the start of the Caculo Cabaca hydroelectric power plant project, built by the Chinese group Gezhouba, about 200 km southeast of the Angolan capital, Luanda. .

Dubbed the “Three Gorges Project in Africa”, the project was launched in August 2017, and now its construction is in full swing.

Once completed, the hydropower plant will meet more than 40 percent of the country’s electricity supply demand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 7.2 million tons per year.

Revenue from power generation will support local infrastructure renovation and nature conservation, and the reservoir will enhance flood control capacity and improve water resource utilization, said Chen Yonggang, project manager.

In addition, Chen said the hydropower project will create more than 6,000 local jobs and train a cadre of construction and management professionals for Angola.

“I appreciate the Chinese company for transmitting a lot of engineering know-how, which is very important for the future development of Angola,” said Nelito Jose, a local employee.

Since the establishment of the African Union in 2002, China and the union have worked hand in hand for 20 years. Projects like the ones mentioned above benefit livelihoods and embody China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

China and Angola, alongside other African countries, have always been close friends and brothers despite the geographical distance, Chinese Ambassador to Angola Gong Tao said.

“Where there is water, there is hope,” Gong said. “May the wellspring of hope continue to flow down the path of China-Africa friendship.”

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