Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • Say you want to travel across Europe, or China,  

  • Japan, India, even parts of the U.S.

  • You could take a train if you wanted to.

  • But in Africa, a large-scale train  network doesn’t really exist.

  • And for the fastest urbanising area on the planet, that's a problem.

  • To fill this pretty critical infrastructure gap,  

  • Africa is undergoing a railway renaissance.

  • And it’s being built in large part by China.

  • These megaprojects are more than  just impressive feats of engineering,  

  • passing through safari camps  and the East African desert.

  • Theyre symbols of better connected  societies, economic opportunity,  

  • international alliances, soft power andshifting balance in the world of construction.

  • To really understand why China is building railways  in Africa, you have to rewind a bit.

  • We could go way back, but let’s start  here, the Bandung Conference in 1955.

  • Leaders from 29 Asian and African nations met in  

  • the hopes of working together in  the wake of Western colonialism.

  • From that international solidarity came  the Tazara Railway, which opened in 1975.

  • The railroad was financed  and mostly built by China,  

  • and it provided the landlocked country of Zambia  with a 1,860 kilometres link to Tanzania and  

  • the way to export its copper to the global market  without crossing white minority ruled territories.

  • Since then, Chinese investment in Africa  

  • has exploded from about USD $75 million dollars  in 2003, to roughly USD $2.7 billion in 2019.

  • Now, more than 30% of China’s investment  in Africa is in the construction sector.

  • China has become the most important source of  

  • development finance in Africa. In the pastwe talked about railroad imperialism. But  

  • now nobody is really investing as much as  China in this railroad connectivity.

  • China has built a massive high-speed  rail network in a matter of years,  

  • and it's now bringing that expertise to Africa.

  • Two of its biggest investments in East Africa are  

  • the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway and  the Kenya Standard Gauge Railway.

  • The USD $4 billion Chinese-built  line across Ethiopia stretches 756  

  • kilometres from the landlocked capital  of Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti.

  • With commercial operations beginning in 2018,  

  • it’s now the backbone of the  Ethiopian National Railway Network.

  • Construction involved modernising an olddeteriorated metre-gauge railway by upgrading  

  • it to the Chinese electrified railway standardmaking it the first of its kind in East Africa.

  • The locomotives are supplied by Chinese  contractors, and are built to withstand altitude  

  • differences of up to 2,000 metres, daytime temperatures  of up to 50 degrees Celsius and cold nights.

  • One promise of the railway was to provide  convenient, air-conditioned travel.

  • Passenger volumes haven’t been  as high as expected, with only  

  • 84,000 people traveling in 2019, and  the service isn’t always reliable.

  • But a big part of the railway’s long-term  potential is in freight transport.

  • More than 90% of Ethiopia’s international  trade passes through Djibouti.

  • And the new line carries roughly a quarter  of all Ethiopian imports and exports.

  • Still, freight volumes haven’t come close  to reaching their full capacity yet.

  • And unsurprisingly, the railway is  struggling to turn a profit.

  • 70% of the project was funded using  loans from China’s state-owned Eximbank.

  • And in 2019, both passenger and cargo  combined only brought in $40 million,  

  • well-below the $70 million cost  of actually operating the line.

  • The problem is if you don't have freight  or passengers that go through the railroad,  

  • then of course, you cannot generate  enough income to repay the loans.

  • And so this is kind of a vicious circle.

  • Over in Kenya, the Standard  Gauge Railway opened in 2017.

  • With a route length of 480 kilometresthe USD $3.8 billion high-speed railway  

  • is Kenya’s largest infrastructure project  since it gained independence in 1963.

  • Construction, led by China Road and Bridge  Corporation, involved building long viaducts,  

  • deep cuttings and long embankments to  navigate the rugged terrain along the route.

  • As you might expect, building a project  of this scale through the stunning  

  • natural habitats that Kenya is known for has  proven to be a difficult balancing act.

  • Two sections of the railroad  running through national parks  

  • faced protests from conservationists, over  concerns it could threaten the wildlife.

  • In response, designers added 14 wildlife  channels and elevated sections of the track.

  • Now complete, the railway is a game changer for  both trade and transportation in the region.

  • The passenger service has cut travel time from  Mombasa to Nairobi from more than 10 hours,  

  • to roughly 5 hours with a $10 economy ticket.

  • In its second year of service, the Kenya  railway transported 1.7 million passengers.

  • And the freight service ferried roughly 5 million  tonnes of goods on Chinese-supplield locomotives.

  • China's approach to infrastructure development

  • is attractive for African countries  because China isn't just providing the finance.

  • It's also this kind of one stop shop that can  supply everything for the lifecycle of a project.

  • When dealing with China, things  are simple. You don't have to balance  

  • multiple actors' interests or  take them into consideration.

  • But once again, things have gotten  messy when it comes to money.

  • China’s Eximbank financed 90% of the project, and  now Kenya is struggling to pay back its loans.

  • And because both of these railways  are built to a Chinese standard,  

  • any major upgrades or even parts that need  to be replaced will have to come from China.

  • China’s investments in foreign infrastructure  goes way beyond these railways.

  • Around the world, it's financing and  constructing hundreds of infrastructure projects  

  • through its massive Belt and Road Initiative.

  • Based on their own development  experience, the Chinese are believers  

  • in the power of infrastructure and its  ability to catalyze economic activity.

  • Engaging with partners that have this appetite  for infrastructure development works for Africa.

  • In Africa alone, China is estimated to have won  

  • almost half of all engineering  procurement and construction contracts.

  • But those contracts haven’t  come without controversy.

  • The country has been accused of  unfair labor practices in Africa,  

  • including bringing in its own  workers instead of hiring locally.

  • Some studies have shown that Chinese firms  actually do hire large numbers of local employees,  

  • but the top management positions are  still dominated by Chinese staff.

  • The construction of the Ethiopian Railway employed  

  • roughly 20,000 local workers in  Ethiopia and 5,000 in Djibouti.

  • There’s no African standard for building railways.

  • So trying to link up colonial-era tracks with newer Chinese standard lines is a massive undertaking.

  • That’s all to say that China’s involvement in  African infrastructure is a complicated,  

  • nuanced investment. But relying  so heavily on a single country  

  • to finance your development is a risky bet.

  • You have Africa needing basic industrial  infrastructure, you know, your railways, your  

  • roads, your ports, your energy plants.

  • African countries not having the kind of  war chest, financial war chest needed,  

  • and with Western lenders kind of reluctant  to invest in massive infrastructure,

  • and the Chinese kind of coming in saying, ‘hey,  

  • you know, we can do this. Not  only can we provide the finance,  

  • but we can provide the skilled workers, we  can provide the construction companies.’

  • You know, what option does Africa have?

  • China’s revenue from construction projects in  Africa skyrocketed from the early 2000s to now.  

  • But it’s dropped off a bit since around 2015.

  • While it’s not clear how long the money will  keep flowing, China’s railways in Africa  

  • are laying the tracks for a long-term  relationship between the two locations.

  • If that partnership lasts, then China’s railway  legacy could stretch far beyond its own borders.

  • If you enjoyed this video and you want to get more from

  • the definitive video channel for construction, make sure you're subscribed to The B1M.

Say you want to travel across Europe, or China,  

字幕與單字

單字即點即查 點擊單字可以查詢單字解釋

A1 初級 美國腔

中國為什麼要建設非洲鐵路(Why China is Building Africa’s Railways)

  • 142 8
    Knight 發佈於 2022 年 03 月 15 日
影片單字