Feature: Togolese youth blossoms through Sino-Africa Belt & Road cooperation
DAKAR, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Leon Kossivi, a young Togolese employee of a Chinese company, has engaged in multiple Sino-Africa infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As for him, these projects play an important role in the development of his hometown and other African countries, while enabling him to blossom and build a happy family.
Kossivi, 36, has been working for the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) for 13 years. He is now in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, working on the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in the city. As an assistant to the project manager, he travels daily to all sections, helping to solve technical problems and facilitate communication.
The 18-km route is the first BRT project in Senegal. Once operational, it will pass through densely populated neighborhoods as well as the main business districts in Dakar. It aims to alleviate traffic congestion in the national capital.
After graduating from university, Kossivi worked as an interpreter for the CRBC during the ring road project in Lome, the capital of Togo. His outstanding performance earned him a recommendation to join the Senegalese branch of the Chinese company. He then participated in the construction of the Ila-Touba highway in Senegal, the country's longest to date.
Inaugurated at the end of 2018, the Ila-Touba highway is a significant achievement in Chinese-Senegalese cooperation under the BRI and represents one of the largest projects in the Plan for an Emerging Senegal, a comprehensive policy framework introduced by the government of Senegal to foster the country's long-term economic and social progress.
The 113-km highway connects Thies, the country's second-largest city about 70 km from Dakar, to the holy city of Touba. Known as a Muslim pilgrimage center in West Africa, Touba annually draws millions of devotees during the Grand Magal of Touba, one of the most significant religious gatherings in the country.
The travel time between these two cities has been reduced to less than two hours, effectively halving the duration compared to the use of the national road.
"You can ask any Senegalese, and they will have nothing but praise for the Ila-Touba highway," remarked Kossivi. The highway not only makes it easier for the local population to get around and improves urban planning, but also promotes the region's economic development.
During the construction of the highway, Kossivi encountered his future wife, Monique Daba Diouf, a young woman from Thies. When the highway was completed and put into service in late 2018, Monique got a job as a toll collector in Keur Madaro.
The couple, along with their six-year-old daughter and three-month-old son, have settled in Thies. "In a few years' time, we plan to welcome my parents from Togo to live with us," Kossivi said in their new 200-square-meter house.
"Many of the BRI projects I've been involved with have brought many benefits to the African people," Kossivi said. According to him, the transportation infrastructure has also created a large number of employment opportunities for many, including himself.