China Exim Bank helps pave way for Belt and Road Initiative to blossom
Supporting China's foreign trade, investment and international economic cooperation, the Export-Import Bank of China, also known as the China Exim Bank, has promoted the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia for years.
It has also facilitated economic integration between China and Central Asian countries to achieve common development.
The bank has carried out financial cooperation with Central Asian countries for more than 20 years, during which it has financed a large number of projects in the fields of transportation, power, chemicals and water conservancy.
They include nine modern factories across different sectors, 17 power stations with a total installed capacity of nearly 1 million kilowatts, roads built in several countries with a total length exceeding 3,000 kilometers, and 1,500 km of power lines.
These livelihood projects have helped to improve the social wellbeing of people. In Kazakhstan, for example, the China Exim Bank financed the establishment of the country's first and so far only electrolytic aluminum plant in Pavlodar.
Most of the equipment in the plant was purchased from China. It adopted the world's most advanced technologies at that time, and reached the world-class level in such aspects as environmental protection, occupational health and construction safety.
The plant is honored by the local people as "a bright pearl inlaid in the beautiful grasslands of Kazakhstan".
The bank also supported Kyrgyzstan to rebuild the Osh-Sary Tash-Irkeshtam Road, part of the 959-km China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan international road.
The section linking China and Kyrgyzstan played an important role on the ancient Silk Road, but was seriously damaged due to natural disasters over the past century.
The project allows the international road to resume full connectivity, which has greatly shortened freight journey times among China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and injected new impetus into the economic and trade exchanges among the three countries and with their neighbors.
In Tajikistan, the bank financed a Chinese company to set up 500-kilovolt transportation and transmission lines to integrate the country's northern and southern power grid systems.
Since Tajikistan is a mountainous country, laying the power lines needed to cross two snow-capped mountains, each with an altitude of more than 3,500 meters. Chinese workers overcame many difficulties and completed the project one year ahead of schedule.
The integration of the country's power grids has solved the imbalance of power supply between the northern and southern areas, alleviating winter power shortages in the northern area and helping Tajikistan export electricity to neighboring countries in the summer.
Another BRI-related model project financed by the China Exim Bank is the 19.2-km Kamchiq Tunnel, which is known as the longest tunnel in Central Asia.
The tunnel, built along the Angren-Pap electrified railway line, connects the remote Ferghana region of Uzbekistan with the capital Tashkent, as well as the central and western industrial areas.
It has ended the long tradition of local people having to make a detour through neighboring countries while traveling domestically. It now takes only 15 minutes by train to travel through the Qurama Mountains.
Construction of the tunnel was challenging due to the complex geological environment, including a rock burst zone that stretches over 10 km. Rock burst means the violent expulsion of rock resulting from heavy pressure on brittle rock layer, the most serious of which caused a partial collapse of the tunnel.
With hard work and wisdom, Chinese workers finished building the tunnel in just 900 days.
In Turkmenistan, the oil and gas industry used to have insufficient production capacity. Local companies have imported a series of oil and gas equipment such as work-over rigs from China with the support of the China Exim Bank.
The new equipment is helping Turkmenistan optimize the production and operation of oil- and gas-drilling fields; improve infrastructure construction; strengthen the capacity and efficiency in natural gas exploitation; and promote the development of the country's energy economy.
At the same time, the procurement has boosted China's export of relevant equipment and technologies, and deepened energy cooperation between China and Turkmenistan.
The implementation of these major projects has not only solved the urgent problems faced by these countries but promoted industrialization and modernization, and injected strong impetus into local economic and social development, bringing good social benefits, according to the bank.
In addition to financing landmark projects, the China Exim Bank has supported the construction of "small and beautiful" projects.
These include the renovation of pump stations in Uzbekistan and the development of a traffic automation management system in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan.
These projects have also helped to enhance the sense of gain, satisfaction and identity of people in Central Asian countries.
The upcoming China-Central Asia Summit, which is set to take place in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on May 18 and 19, will elevate ties between China and Central Asian countries, bring economic and trade cooperation to a higher level and deliver more tangible benefits to the people, officials said.
Looking ahead, the China Exim Bank will continue to discuss cooperation, share opportunities and seek common development with Central Asian countries.
It will promote the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative across Central Asia with better financial services, and contribute to the building of an even closer community with a shared future for mankind.