Jiangyin: Man­u­fac­tur­ing the Fu­ture

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The lo­cals are also very friendly. The con­di­tions for la­bor re­cruit­ment are quite good. We trained lo­cal work­ers and taught them ad­vanced tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Chi­nese stan­dards are adopted in our projects, and our high-qual­ity con­struc­tion has won trust from the lo­cals.”

STECOL is now work­ing on seven projects in Rwanda, cov­er­ing fields like mu­nic­i­pal engi­neer­ing, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, high­ways and hy­dro­elec­tric projects. These projects cre­ated many jobs and cul­ti­vated a large num­ber of lo­cal equip­ment op­er­a­tors and tech­ni­cal work­ers.

Denise Ingabire, a lo­cal who was hired as an ex­ec­u­tive man­ager by STECOL Cor­po­ra­tion, says that she stud­ied civil engi­neer­ing in China. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, she re­turned to Ki­gali and was even­tu­ally hired by STECOL. Ingabire said she was happy to get the job so she could use the knowl­edge learned in China in her ev­ery­day work. The am­bi­tious girl aims to gain wider ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­pany and make greater con­tri­bu­tions to her own coun­try. At present, around 870 lo­cal em­ploy­ees work for STECOL Cor­po­ra­tion, and that fig­ure may jump as high as 3,000 dur­ing con­struc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Duan Sheng­wei, deputy gen­eral man­ager of the cor­po­ra­tion’s East Africa branch, along­side road con­struc­tion, his com­pany also sends tech­ni­cians to per­form road main­te­nance af­ter com­ple­tion and even help lo­cals re­pair roads that were built by other com­pa­nies. The com­pany com­mit­ted to an ex­pan­sion and up­grade project on the Nya­gatare-gabiro road, a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional artery con­nect­ing Rwanda, Uganda and Tan­za­nia. In

May 2018, a mud­slide trig­gered by a rain­storm de­stroyed a road 50 kilo­me­ters away from the project base. The com­pany quickly re­sponded and cleared the road known as a “life pas­sage” by lo­cals. Lo­cal gov­ern­ment, res­i­dents, and me­dia were ex­tremely grate­ful for this en­deavor.

On June 6, 2018, the cor­po­ra­tion signed a com­mer­cial con­tract to con­struct the Nyabarongo II Power Sta­tion. The dam will serve flood con­trol and ir­ri­ga­tion func­tions once com­pleted, and 20,000 hectares of farm­land will be de­vel­oped at the lower reaches of the Nyabarongo River. This is the largest project in terms of con­tract amount in Rwanda since the coun­try gained in­de­pen­dence in 1962. Com­ple­tion of the power sta­tion will ease power short­ages, pre­vent floods and im­prove ir­ri­ga­tion of farm­land.

Shar­ing the Wins

In Rwanda, Chi­nese en­ter­prises co-ex­ist and de­velop har­mo­niously with lo­cals, and ac­tively ful­fill their so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

In 2015, Chi­nese en­tre­pre­neur Ma Xiaomei came to Rwanda to es­tab­lish a gar­ment fac­tory upon an in­vi­ta­tion from the lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Her very first re­cruit­ment drive at­tracted more than 200 ap­pli­cants. Tex­tile is a la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­try, and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment ex­pected to cre­ate more jobs. Gov­ern­men­tal sup­port and good public se­cu­rity in­spired a lot of con­fi­dence in Ma.

Rwanda’s tex­tile in­dus­try suf­fers from a weak foun­da­tion and in­ad­e­quate tech­ni­cal per­son­nel. Ma in­vited se­nior Chi­nese and Kenyan train­ers to teach her Rwan­dan work­ers cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing. Af­ter a three-month train­ing pro­gram, prod­ucts by Rwan­dan work­ers were up to qual­ity check stan­dard.

Ma’s in­vest­ment in Rwanda es­tab­lished the C&H gar­ment fac­tory, the first of its kind in Rwanda. The am­bi­tious Chi­nese en­tre­pre­neur set her sights on the big­ger goal of “Made in Rwanda.” In the past, Rwanda had re­lied on im­port­ing se­cond-hand clothes. Thus, the gov­ern­ment was de­ter­mined to pro­duce do­mes­ti­cally made clothes, show­ing great en­thu­si­asm for de­vel­op­ing the tex­tile in­dus­try, which is the pri­mary rea­son they in­vited in­ter­na­tional tex­tile trade pro­fes­sion­als like Ma. With 25 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in tex­tile and gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing, Ma loves Africa and hopes that more Chi­nese tex­tile en­ter­prises will come to Rwanda to boost its bur­geon­ing tex­tile in­dus­try.

Star­times Group, with a mis­sion to “share the beauty of dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion with Africa,” is highly in­flu­en­tial on the con­ti­nent. The group now pro­vides 16 mil­lion African house­holds with in­ex­pen­sive and cap­ti­vat­ing dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion pro­grams 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The group has opened a new win­dow for African peo­ple to un­der­stand the world and quickly be­come a con­duit of China-africa cul­tural ex­change and friend­ship, driv­ing Africa’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

On Au­gust 26, 2008, the launch cer­e­mony of Star­times Rwanda was held. Rwan­dan Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame, Rwan­dan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and Sun Shuzhong, then Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Rwanda, at­tended the cer­e­mony. Pres­i­dent Kagame de­liv­ered an im­por­tant speech at the site, prais­ing the project and ex­pound­ing on its sig­nif­i­cance to his coun­try.

Star­times Africa em­ploys 90 per­cent lo­cal em­ploy­ees across all of its projects. These em­ploy­ees are ac­tive in posts such as ad­min­is­tra­tion, busi­ness af­fairs, le­gal af­fairs and mar­ket­ing. Cul­ti­va­tion of lo­cal pro­fes­sion­als has set a solid foun­da­tion for pro­mot­ing de­vel­op­ment of dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion as well as the ra­dio and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try in Africa.

A sec­tion of the Rwanda-bu­rundi transna­tional high­way project con­structed by STECOL Cor­po­ra­tion in western Rwanda. cour­tesy of STECOL Cor­po­ra­tion

June 6, 2018: STECOL signs a com­mer­cial con­tract to con­struct the Nyabarongo II Power Sta­tion. It is the largest project in terms of con­tract amount in Rwanda since the coun­try gained in­de­pen­dence in 1962. cour­tesy of STECOL Cor­po­ra­tion

Lo­cal work­ers at the C&H gar­ment fac­tory in Rwanda. by Wang Xin­jun

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