The story of One Belt, One Road by a Togolese youth

Seetao 2023-06-05 14:40
  • The Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects have boosted local urban construction and people's livelihood
  • Leon Kosivi, a young Togolese man who participated in the project, not only realized his self-worth, but also gained a happy family
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The Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects such as Lome Ring Road in Togo, Theis-Tuba Highway in Senegal, and the rapid transit system in Dakar, capital of Senegal, have promoted local urban construction and people's livelihood. Leon Kosivi (Su Xin in Chinese), a young Togolese who participated in these projects, has not only realized his self-worth, but also gained a happy family.

Su Xin, 36, has worked for China Road and Bridge Corporation for 13 years and is currently involved in the construction of the bus Rapid transit system in Dakar as an assistant project manager. As the country's first urban bus rapid transit line, the approximately 18-kilometer road will cut through Dakar's most densely populated neighborhoods and core business district, helping to ease traffic pressure in the capital when completed.

Every morning, Mr. Su arrived at the project site in his white pickup truck and spent the day shuttling between roads. Whether it was a technical problem or communication difficulty, he would rush to the scene to help "put out the fire" as soon as his colleagues called.

In 2011, Su Xin had just graduated from college and was working as a translator on the Lome bypass project being built by China Road and Bridge. In 2016, Su Xin was assigned to the construction project of the 113km-long Thys-Tuba Expressway, where he was involved in earthmoving, oil surface construction and drainage. The highway linking Thies, the country's second largest city, to the religious holy city of Tuba was completed and opened at the end of 2018, cutting travel time between the two places by at least half.

The city of Tuba is a popular Muslim pilgrimage center and tourist destination in West Africa. Millions of people flock to the city every year during the Magal Festival. The highway not only facilitates local people's travel and improves the appearance of the city, but also promotes regional economic development.

"You can ask any Senegalese and they will rave about the highway." "Su Xin said. The shorter travel times mean fresh food can be delivered in hot weather without fear of spoilage, says Jean-Pierre Diagne, head of the This-Touba highway at the Senegal Road Works and Authority. Diagne says the highway project has brought many local jobs and training opportunities, and "the social benefits outweigh the investment."

During the construction of the highway, Su Xin met a Thies girl named Monique. The following year they married and chose to live in Theys. Monique also became a highway toll collector.

"Now that we have two children, we plan to settle down here and in a few years bring our parents from Togo to live with us." Su Xin is looking forward to the future.

When Su comes home from vacation, he drives on the highway he helped build, and the familiar scenery outside his window always brings back memories of his and his colleagues working furiously to build roads and Bridges. If Monique happens to be on duty, Soxin talks to his wife as he passes the toll booth, then pulls into a nearby work area to wait for her to come home from work.

Mr. Su says he learned a knack for settling down and raising a happy family at the Chinese company. He hopes to participate in more China-Africa cooperation projects in the future to create a better living environment for futur


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