China to launch more cooperation projects under B&R Initiative

The Seminar on International Cooperation Projects under the Belt and Road Initiative is held in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, in March 2019. (China Plus)

Chinese officials have announced plans to launch more international cooperation projects with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.

Wang Xiaolong, the director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of International Economic Affairs, says the new plan is a continuation of the various international cooperation projects which have been launched through the Belt and Road Initiative since it was first initiated in 2013.

"The infrastructure construction projects launched over the past six years have boosted interconnectivity between China and Belt and Road countries, injecting strength into their economies from both the supply side and the demand side. The cooperation projects have also helped upgrade the status of these countries in the global industry and supply chain, bolstering their self-driven development and fostering new growth drivers," says Wang.

Some of the projects have been highlighted at a seminar held in Henan's capital, Zhengzhou, earlier this month.

One of them is the Yenbo phase III fuel power station in Saudi Arabia, which includes a seawater desalination plant, and it's being built by Shandong-based SEPCO III, a subsidiary of PowerChina.

The company's overseas business director, Zhu Lintao, says their firm is leading an international consortium.

"The project involves a German consulting firm, a Spanish designing company designing the power station, and American conglomerate General Electric, which provides the electric generators. Certain German suppliers are also providing us with draught fans. The equipment for the seawater desalination plant is being provided by Doosan Group from South Korea. PowerChina acts as the project's coordinator," says Zhu.

The first unit of the project is already delivering low-pressure steam to a water plant in the Saudi city of Madina, which is helping ensure a steady water supply to the Kingdom's second-holiest city.

Once fully operational, the project is expected to provide drinking water to roughly 400,000 people.

Another project highlighted at the Zhengzhou seminar is the Chinese built and financed Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, which opened in May 2017.

"Once upon a time, it took twelve hours to travel for the 480 kilometers between Nairobi and Mombasa, but now it takes on average just over four hours. And we are pleased to report that we have transported more than 2.6 million passengers. The service has now become a popular transport mode and the mode of choice for many travelers in Kenya," says James Siele, who is in charge of business and commercial operations with Kenya Railways Corporation, which is now in control of the rail operation.

Zhou Xiaofei, Deputy Secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, says they hope to create more third-country opportunities by expanding international cooperation projects through the Belt and Road.

"China's strong industrial capacity and construction capability should be combined with developed countries' advantages, including advanced equipment, professional services, management experience and fund-raising abilities. This will help meet demand among developing countries for projects to help with urbanization and industrialization. This should also help develop new markets in these countries, which will create mutual benefits and win-win cooperation," says Zhou.

China has signed BRI cooperation documents with 123 countries and 29 international organizations over the past six years.

Editor: 曹家宁