The Chinese construction behemoth’s great leap forward

The Sino civil construction behemoth, China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation (CCECC) recently flew a Motswana high achiever, Bernard Nkomo Bogatsu to Beijing, China as a pat in the back together with 10 of the conglomerate’s hardworking staff from its worldwide bases.

Bogatsu is a CCECC employee based in Pandamatenga where the company is executing the construction of a road network and drainage system for the eastern farmlands.

He explains that CCECC has been listed among the world’s top 100 international contractors for 7 consecutive years by the Engineering News Record also has an equally well documented engagement in Botswana’s architectural development.

CCECC has made the giant leap forward from its initial days where it tackled its largest foreign aid construction of the Tanzania-Zambia railway line.

From foreign aid construction in African states such as Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, CCECC has now transformed its scope to other spheres such as project contracting, civil engineering, design and consultancy, labour services cooperation, real estate development as well as import and export trading among others.

In Botswana the company is responding to the call of the new President Mokgweetsi Masisi employment crusade.

CCECC has localized a great amount of its senior managerial posts such as its technicians and laboratory test managers. At least 90% of its employees are Batswana with a ratio of 1 foreign worker to 12 locals.

CCECC business operations now straddle 50 countries, from South America to Oceania and Africa through Asia to Europe.

Major projects its tackles include large-scale bridges, high-ways and miles upon miles of railway tracks.

In Botswana, CCECC first arrived in 1985 to rehabilitate our country’s south to north railways line as requested by government.

The Chinese government offered an interest-free loan worth US$ 26 million for the rehabilitation and renewal of the railway’s 379 kilometers.

The railway line is composed of 4 phases. These are from Gaborone to the border of South Africa, from Francistown to the border of Zimbabwe, from Francistown to Serule and from Gaborone to  Artesia. The rehabilitation was implemented in five phases.

CCECC was further awarded an additional railway rehabilitation and renewal of 261 kilometers project with the value of US$ 40.55 million in 1996. 17.7 of which was a concessional loan offered by the Chinese government while the rest was offered by the government of Botswana. This line was composed of 2 sections, from Serule to Mahalapye and Mahalapye to Artesia.

CCECC was awarded this project and the execution was very successful. In addition the company trained quite a great number of local technicians for maintenance purposes.

It proceeded to construct projects such as the Serule Council Chamber, the Lobatse Mental hospital, and the Pandamatega road project.

Bogatsu attended the excellence awards as a high performing Motswana employee and amongst the top 10 international staff, picked out from thousands of employees in the 50 countries where CCECC operates.

His extras included attending the awarding ceremony at the CCECC Plaza in Beijing, entering the Forbidden City where the Chinese emperors used to stay before proceeding to walk the Great Wall and seeing the 2008 Olympics’ The  Nest Stadium.

Bogatsu also took the inter-city high-speed train from Beijing to Tianjin. He would later express delight that the trip took a mere 30 minutes even though the railway line is 113.54 kilometers. The train travels at 300 kilometers per hour.

Bogatsu also expressed wonder about the technologically advanced facilities of the passenger train which is also clean and tidy.

In an interview with this publication, Bogatsu stated that among others he enjoyed Chinese cuisine. He also described the view from atop the CCTV tower as a magnificent other-worldly sight to see.

He stated that among other things, what was noteworthy about the Chinese people was their work ethic adding that they put in the hours into their tasks.

He further noted that his trip to the Chinese capital will motivate his fellow employees in Botswana and across other countries to work even harder.

He explained that he has been doing his job diligently not realizing that his superiors were paying attention, urging his colleagues to even work harder as there are always benefits to reap.

As dignitaries in a foreign country the hospitality he got from the CCECC Botswana colleagues in China was quite impressive. They were very friendly and happy to meet foreigners.