Hy­dropower plant de­liv­ers ben­e­fits to Cote d’Ivoire lo­cals

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS -

ABID­JAN — A mag­nif­i­cent build­ing has emerged at the Sas­san­dra River in the west of Cote d’Ivoire in Africa, about 400 km from its eco­nomic cap­i­tal of Abid­jan.

About a week ago, a cer­e­mony was held here to of­fi­cially mark the start of elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion at the Soubre hydroelectric power sta­tion, a hy­dropower plant built by a Chi­nese com­pany with a ca­pac­ity of 275 MW.

The power sta­tion, the con­struc­tion of which be­gan in 2013, was com­pleted eight months in ad­vance, cre­at­ing a new “Chi­nese mir­a­cle”.

“This is the fourth year I’ve been work­ing for the hy­dropower plant project and I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the job op­por­tu­nity,” said Koua­dio Alphonse, a 31-year-old to­pog­ra­pher with three chil­dren.

“My Chi­nese fel­low work­ers taught me prag­matic skills and I learn from them the hard­work­ing spirit,” he said. “This is an im­por­tant les­son that ben­e­fits all my life.”

An an­cient Chi­nese say­ing has it that wa­ter afar quenches no fire and a close neigh­bor is bet­ter than a dis­tant cousin. Now Alphonse un­der­stands that more than ever. MW

In July last year, Alphonse’s house caught fire and all his fam­ily was trapped in the flames. “My Chi­nese col­leagues helped me pull them out of the blaze and put out the fire,” he said.

“The com­pany later put on a fundrais­ing event for me,” Alphonse said in tears. “The self­less as­sis­tance helped pull me through and got me to start a new life.”

Sit­u­ated 20 km from down­town Soubre was Kouamekro, a vil­lage that ac­com­mo­dates around 500 res­i­dents re­lo­cated from the reser­voir area.

“The lo­cal gov­ern­ment gave a house and set­tle­ment al­lowance to us. We moved here at the be­gin­ning of this year,” said vil­lager Martin Kouakou.

“My house has three bed­rooms and one liv­ing room. I had never imag­ined liv­ing in such a big and pretty place,” he said.

Soubre Mayor Traore Lassna said nearly 3,000 peo­ple had to be re­lo­cated be­cause of build­ing the Soubre hydroelectric power sta­tion and that Kouamekro was one of the re­lo­ca­tions.

It is a press­ing and im­por­tant task to help the mi­grants strengthen their own ca­pa­bil­ity to make a liveli­hood, in ad­di­tion to sup­port from the gov­ern­ment, said the mayor.

“I am plan­ning to buy seeds and farm ma­chin­ery with the re­lo­ca­tion al­lowance and start cul­ti­va­tion,” said Kouakou.

“I want to thank China for its co­op­er­a­tion with Cote d’Ivoire to build the hy­dropower plant for my home­town and make such a beau­ti­ful home­land for us,” he said.

Sec­re­tary of the tech­nol­ogy depart­ment of the project Mary­line Koua­dio came to Soubre in 2014.

“When I first ar­rived here I was a bit frus­trated be­cause of the lan­guage bar­rier be­tween the Chi­nese work­ers and me,” she re­called.

But as time elapsed she started to find his col­leagues all be­ing nice and glad to be­friend her.

ca­pac­ity of the Soubre hydroelectric power sta­tion

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