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The Centre for China Studies (CCS) is an independent research think tank focused on the study of China, her phenomenal rise and important engagement with Africa.

Amidst the scorching summer heat, a group of Chinese workers are toiling away among rows of neatly aligned solar panels in the Benban Solar Energy Park, working with their Egyptian colleagues to help energize the North African country’s vision of becoming a regional clean energy hub.

Located in the desert of Aswan, a southern province of Egypt, the park covers an area of 37 square km and is planned to have a total installed capacity of two gigawatts.

“We have five projects with a total installed capacity of 321 megawatts in the park, and we are becoming the second-largest investor here,” said Li Fengyi, vice director of MENA renewable power plants of Asia-Africa Green Energy Investment Limited (CTG Asia-Africa), an investment platform for China Three Gorges International in the Asian and North African regions.

“All the panels used in the CTG Asia-Africa projects are made in China,” Li said, expressing the company’s confidence in helping meet Egypt’s power demand with the country’s abundant solar resources.

The solar power plant in the park will help Egypt increase its use of renewable energy and is estimated to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by cutting two million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy said in a statement released this year 2024.

The Chinese projects not only help the country generate clean power but also create job opportunities for local residents. Ahmed Kamal, a site manager of the CTG Asia-Africa projects at the park, has moved with his wife and daughter from Alexandria to settle in Aswan after being employed by the company.

“The projects have created thousands of jobs since its establishment, especially during the construction works, which supports many residents of Benban and Aswan,” the 33-year-old engineer said.

The surrounding areas of the projects have also seen development, and the residents of this desert region have experienced a notable improvement in their living conditions through stable income earned from working in the park, said Kamal.

“I also benefited financially as this job has improved my income and living standards,” he added.

Mohammed Hussein, a 39-year-old employee from Benban, said that he and his family are also beneficiaries of the Chinese projects.

Hussein used to travel across numerous provinces in search of work opportunities before ultimately deciding to work at Benban.

“I’m very much satisfied with my work here, and I hope to continue working for the Chinese projects in the future,” he added, flashing a smile. 

Categories: ChinAfrica

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