Of 97 countries in which China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. operates, it has its strongest presence in Nigeria, with over 19,600 employees.

“CCECC has signed contracts on more than 120 projects in Nigeria, but construction has only started on half of them, while funding issues are being worked out on the others,” says Zhou Dongping, business development manager.

Most CCECC clients are federal ministries and state governments, and the work the company performs includes highways, buildings, ports and water supply projects. Second in scale behind the Lagos-Ibadan rail line are four massive airport terminals. Of those, two, in Port Harcourt and Abuja, are operational, and two, in Kano and Lagos, are expected to be completed in late 2019.

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One of the company’s most high-profile achievements was constructing a 44-kilometer light rail system in the capital, Abuja—the first mass transit system in West Africa. It began operating in July 2018.

The firm is in discussions with the Ministry of Transportation over two major long-range projects: the remaining four segments of the Lagos-Kano standard-gauge line, and the 1,400-km east-west Lagos-Calabar line.

The company’s scope has broadened during its 38-year tenure in Nigeria. “Step by step we became larger and diversified, including design and surveying work,” said Michael Jiang, managing director of CCECC Nigeria Ltd. “We branched out in all types of investment, such as developing the Lekki Free Zone in Lagos.”

The company is also focused on social responsibilities. “A CCECC scholarship program has sent 150 Nigerians to study civil engineering at Central South University in Hunan Province and Chang’an University in Xi’an Province,” says Zhou. “In addition, CCECC started a railroad university program in 2018, involving three years of study in Nigeria and two in China.”