Pride of Africa rolls on with dreams on board

Rebuilt 'Made in China' Benguela Railway an epitome of Sino-Angolan cooperation


  Recently, the Pride of Africa, a luxury train, set off from Lobito, Angola, and arrived in Dares-Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, passing through Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Tanzania.

  This was the first time in history the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean were linked by a railway line and also the first time Angola received international passenger trains. Expectedly, it aroused attention, received extensive coverage in the domestic and foreign media and was "liked" by numerous readers.

  The Benguela Railway is an epitome of Sino-Angola cooperation since the beginning of this century. It holds jurisdiction over 1,344 kilometers of the 4,300 km Two-Ocean Railway across the African continent and is recognized by train passengers for its good quality and comfortable travel experience.

  The Benguela Railway, located in the central part of Angola, was built in 1899.It runs from the west to the east, traversing the four provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bie and Moxico, before reaching the bordering city of Luau on its onward journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  The railway was shut down for a long time and was severely damaged during the civil war. After the war, on the Angolan government's request, Chinese enterprises undertook and completed reconstruction of the Benguela Railway. The exercise was funded by Chinese financial institutions, giving the reborn railway the rightful tag of "Made in China".

  The railway not only plays an important role in the economic and social development of Angola, but has also become another important achievement for Belt and Road projects in Africa.

  At the end of the civil war in 2002, the Angolan government urgently needed some external assistance. Other countries were slow to respond, but China became the first country to establish an innovative financing cooperation model for Angola. It is not surprising therefore for Angola's leaders to have time and again expressed their appreciation for China's timely help and support.

  In just over a decade, China has helped Angola repair or build 2,800 km of railways and 20,000 km of roads, more than 100,000 social housing sets, more than 100 schools and more than 50 hospitals.

  China has also assisted Angola in the construction of the Luanda Provincial General Hospital, the Agricultural Demonstration Center, the Institute of International Relations and the Huambo Integrated Technological Training Center. It has sent five teams of medical professionals and more than 2,500 person-times professionals in business, training, agriculture, health, media, and policing sectors.

  Enterprises funded by China have actively fulfilled their social responsibilities in Angola, donating a number of public facilities such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, which have had good social repercussions. Angola has got a completely new look while people's living conditions have improved greatly.

  The cooperation between China and Angola is wide-ranging, large-scale, and fruitful. It is thus at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation and sets a good example for China-Africa cooperation in the new era.

  In September last year, China's President Xi Jinping pointed out in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that "With a similar fate in the past and a common mission, China and Africa have extended sympathy to and helped each other throughout. Together, we have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win cooperation. China, the world's largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have long formed a community with a shared future."

  The success of China-Africa cooperation is evidence that China attaches importance to interest and sincerity, and not to political considerations, self-interest or pursuit of unilateral profit. China has actively combined the "Chinese Dream" with the "African Dream" to help African countries effectively transform their resources into fruits of development, winning the support and trust of African governments and the people.

  There are new challenges but China will continue to improve its mechanism and use innovative ideas to expand the fields of cooperation and steadily push China-Angola cooperation to a higher level.

  In 2018, President Xi and Angolan President Joao Lourenco met twice to arrive at an important consensus on China-Angola relations and cooperation, and chalked out the direction for improving quality and efficiency of the cooperation. Since Lourenco assumed office, the Angolan government has adopted a series of reform measures to actively expand opening up, optimize the investment environment and promote diversified economic development.

  With Angola's participation in Belt and Road projects and implementation of the China-Africa Eight Major Initiatives, China and Angola have continuously expanded cooperation areas and formed new cooperation models.

  According to the National Statistics Institute of Angola, in 2018, China became its largest source of international investment while also being Angola's largest trading partner. Investment into agricultural, industrial and mining production projects by Chinese enterprises in Angola will continue to improve production capacity, tap the potential of existing infrastructure, provide new hematopoietic capabilities for Angola's national economy and create new growth points for cooperation between China and Angola.

  The journey on the Pride of Africa might be a short one, but it carries the original intention and mission of China-Africa cooperation, indicating a bright future for Angola and the whole of Africa. China and Africa will continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, the Eight Major Initiatives and develop trilateral cooperation with other African countries to effectively improve the independent sustainable development capacity of Africa.

  China is always willing to work together with African countries to create a China-Africa Community that enjoys "joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, cultural prosperity, common security, happiness for all and harmony between human and nature".

  We have enough reason to believe that the giant train of China-Africa Community will carry the "Chinese Dream" and the "African Dream" to a better tomorrow.











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