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Uganda’s Karuma hydropower plant nearing completion

Karuma Hydro Power Plant is an Uganda flagship project financed by the Export Import Bank (EXIM) of China. The EXIM bank is financing 85 percent of the project while the rest in funded by the Ugandan government. The cost of the project is about 1.7 billion U.S. dollars.

The plant is critical in addressing the country’s increasing electricity demand in efforts to fast track industrialization. Inadequate power supply is one of the key bottlenecks to fast tracking Uganda’s economic development.

According to the government, Karuma will generate electricity in a phased manner, starting with the already completed turbines until the final turbine, leading to an installed capacity of 600 MW.

Sinohydro is also in charge of the Karuma Interconnection Project, which will evacuate power from the plant. There are three transmission lines that will be leaving the power plant heading to different directions.

According to Sinohydro’s progress report, work was delayed due to COVID19 measures, but overall work has reached 94.5 percent completion. Most of the tower erection and stringing works have been done, except in a few places where there has been a challenge of accessing the way. This, according to Sinohydro has led to delays in completing the works.

Xinhua news release, November 14, 2020

“CropWatch” team of CAS Aerospace Information Research Institute publishes bulletin on global crop conditions

Based on Big Earth Data, the report was put together by an international team with 48 analysts from 11 countries, coordinated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and issued on Feb. 29.

Crop conditions between October 2019 and January 2020 suffered from extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall and floods in many parts of Africa, and the severe outbreak of desert locust expanding from the Arabian Peninsula into western Asia, East Africa to South-Asia. 

According to the report, the impact of the desert locust on cereal production in Horn of Africa and South-Asia is yet limited, while they have damaged rangeland and orchards and threated the livestock over those regions, e. g., 

pastures in Somalia were damaged by desert locusts. If locusts should further spread to southern directions, they will threat maize production during the short rainy season.

CAS news releae, March 6, 2020

Kenya initiates flower trade with China

11,550 flowers, including roses, hydrangea and lilies, were transported on a charted flight from Nairobi and landed in the airport of Changsha, capital of Hunan province, after 14 hours in the air. Kenyan roses are very popular among Chinese consumers due to their high quality and rich variety.

Xinhua news release, February 28, 2020

International Astronomical Union (IAU) accepts Chinese mythical name for dwarf planet in solar system

The planet, coded 2007OR10, was discovered in 2007 by three astronomers on the far edge of the solar system, outside Neptune’s orbit. It is one of the reddest celestial bodies found in the Kuiper Belt in the solar system, and it rotates around the sun in an elliptical orbit. Its estimated diameter is1,230 km, and its weight is only 2.4 percent that of the moon. It rotates very slowly, with a period of 44.81 hours.

The official naming was produced through an online vote in 2019 launched by one of its discoverers, and Gonggong 共工,the Chinese water god, with red hair, the head of a human and the body of a snake, won the competition. The satellite of the planet was named after Xiangliu 相柳, a Chinese minister of Gonggong.

CAS news release, March 3, 2020

China’s Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) develops forecast model for desert locust migration

Based on the Digital Earth Science Platform of AIR, teams around HUANG Wenjiang and DONG Yingying have used multi-source earth observation data, meteorological data, field data, and self-developed models and algorithms to analyze putative paths of desert locust which presently plague East Africa and Southwest Asia. developed by AIR. They conclude that if the locusts in Pakistan and India cannot be controlled effectively and when the Southwest Monsoon is extremely strong, there may be some probability for the locust moving from India to Myanmar via Bangladesh, and a higher risk to invade China’s Yunnan and Tibet from May to June 2020.

CAS news release, February 27, 2020

© AIR, China

Huawei plans ICT training for talented Egyptian students

Huawei Egypt’s CEO SUN Luocheng and Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education, Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, have signed an MOU aiming to establish a long-term partnership to develop university infrastructure and train young ICT talents. There exists already an agreement to establish the Huawei ICT Academy in Egypt at Ain Shams University in Cairo. The ICT training program will start from May this year, training students from the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021.

Xinhua news release, Feburary 26, 2020

Huawei increases ICT capacity building in Ethiopia

According the the CEO of Huawei Ethiopia, ZHOU Tianbing, Huawei has launched three major initiatives: (1) “Seeds for the Future”, (2) an ICT competition, and (3) an ICT Talent Ecosystem, at the levels of elementary, secondary and higher education.

  • The “Seeds for Future” project started in 2016, whereby 10 most talented students are sent to China every year for short-term training, in cooperation with the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE)
  • Since 2018, there is an ICT Competition, in which 2,357 students from 22 universities of Ethiopia participated in 2019. One teacher and three students have qualified for the final competition to be held in China. In 2020, Huawei has targeted to engage more than 3,000 students from 28 universities to show their talents in the ICT competition.
  • For the ICT Talent Ecosystem of Ethiopia, Huawei signed an agreement with MoSHE in January 2017 for joint construction of ICT Academies in 37 public institutions of higher education.

According to Huawei, more than 300,000 college students have become beneficiaries of digital research and development, digital education and distant education through their programs.

Xinhua news release, February 18, 2020

African Union (AU) prepares for two cross-border high-speed train projects

According to AU’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, AMANI Abou-Zedi, high-speed trains connecting African capitals are flagship projects of the “Agenda 2063”. The Bujumbura (Burundi) -Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) line is one of the two train projects.

Xinhua news release, February 2, 2020

TU Youyou receives UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for her groundbreaking work on artemisinin

The UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences honours outstanding scientific research projects in the life sciences that have led to an improvement in the quality of human life. As a side event of the 33rd African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, she has received the award for her groundbreaking work on artemisinin. Two other scientists, Cato Laurencin (USA) and Kevin McGuigan (Ireland), were also honoured at this event.

Xinhua news release, February 10, 2020

Zambia signs deal on “smart education” with Huawei

Huawei signed an agreement with the Zambian government aimed at promoting the use of modern technology in higher learning institutions. According to the company and the Zambia Ministry of Higher Education, Huawei will use its vast experience in information technology and learning materials to help universities to upgrade education in Information Technology Communication (ICT).

Xinhua news release, February 6, 2020

Chinese pavillion at Cairo book fair

Egypt opened on Wednesday the 51st Cairo International Book Fair CIBF, the largest and oldest book fair in the Middle East and the second worldwide after Germany’s Frankfurt Book Fair, featuring 808 pavilions and 900 publishing houses. China contributes a 90-meter wide pavilion, decorated with big red lanterns. Prices of books translated from Chinese vary from 30 to 220 pounds (about 1.9-13.9 US$), less expensive than English books.

Xinhua news release, January 24, 2020

© Xinhua

Chinese consortium wins tender to upgrade railway line in Namibia

© Railway Gazette

Three Chinese companies, China Gezhouba Group, Qingjian Group and Unik Construnction Engineering, have won contracts to upgrade the railway line between Walvis Bay and Kranzberg, Namibia. The project is being funded through part of a loan secured by the Namibian government from the African Development Bank. Chinese companies have completed infrastructure projects in Namibia including a container terminal, oil storage facilities and several road upgrading and construction projects.

Xinhua news release, January 23, 2020

Giza pyramid illuminated red to celebrate Chinese New Year

On Jan. 23, 2020. pyramids and the sphinx in Giza near Cairo have been shining in red in a ceremonial sound and light show as part of the celebrations of China’s Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year.

Xinhua, January 23, 2020

© Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa

Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) revisited

The SGR passenger train covers a total distance of 472 kilometres and is the first standard gauge railway completed in Africa. It was designed using Chinese technology, standard, equipment and funding. SGR is run by AfriStar, with 2,248, or nearly 80%, of its employees from Kenya. Four passenger trains run on a daily basis. Since its opening in May 2017, the SGR has carried 4 million passengers, with an average attendance rate of 95%. In addition, 16 freight trains run daily on average, and nearly 6 million tons of cargo was transported in 2019, up 70% compared with 2018. The SGR passes through Kenya’s largest conservation park, Tsavo National Park.

Belt and Road news, Jasnuary 12, 2020