10-years of CPEC: Role of Chinese companies in social development of Pakistan
Editor's Note: The writer is CEO, AIERD, Visiting Research Fellow, Hebei University, China. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.
Chinese companies are an integral part of CPEC. They are the torch bearer of this flagship project of BRI. They are not only helping Pakistan overcome its infrastructure problems but also investing in social development, skills, and environmental protection in Pakistan. Unfortunately, their work could not get the attention of the media and society. Propaganda played a major role to undermine the social development work of the Chinese companies. The propagandist kept the media and people busy with baseless theories and allegations against Chinese investment. Fortunately, the Chinese companies did not pay attention to allegations and propaganda and kept their focus on projects and social development, skill, and environmental protection programs.
All Chinese companies are investing in social development, but only a few have been selected for discussion. Sahiwal Coal Power and Port Qasim power plants. The Chinese companies not only helped to create thousands of jobs but also invested in building the capacity of hundreds of engineers and staff members. According to available data, Huaneng Shandong Rui Group, which built the Sahiwal coal power invested in 622 employees for building their capacity and sharpen their skills. Further segregation of data shows that 245 engineers were trained following the need for required skills at plants. Moreover, Huaneng Shandong Rui Group plant administration also built a capacity of 377 general staff members i.e., administration, computer, etc.
Port Qasim also contributed to building the capacity of engineers and staff members. Data shows that 2600 employees benefited from the capacity-building and skill development opportunities offered by the Port Qasim plant. It trained 600 engineers and 2000 general staff members. It is a huge number, especially in the engineering category. It will help Pakistan; as Pakistan has a shortage of qualified and trained engineers. These companies also assisted Pakistan during floods and COVID-19.
Second, the Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) is another Chines company, which is investing in social development. The major contribution of COPHC is in the sectors of education, waste management, environmental protection, and the provision of food. COPHC joined hands with the Chinese government to establish a good quality school in one of the most backward areas of the country. COPHC has donated books for the children and is also active in the day-to-day management of the school.
Besides, COPHC is also investing in environmental protection and making Gwadar beautiful. COPHC has committed to plant one million plants across Gwadar in addition to cleanness drives. It is good to note that COPHC planted 400000 plants across the port and Gwadar city within one year of commitment.
State Grid Cooperation is another Chinese company, which is investing in multiple initiatives. The company not only took care of employees but also contributed generously to support the government and community in the fight against COVID-19. It donated ventilators, monitors, protective clothing, masks, and other medical equipment or materials to the Pakistani government, communities, and hospitals. Moreover, State Grid Cooperation also distributed 40 tons of rice, flour, and other materials among the marginalized communities in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh. It helped many families avert the negative implications of lockdown during COVID-19.
However, the biggest contribution was on the environmental front. First, SGC adopted green planning and execution of plans in accordance with the green standard. It is helping to reduce emissions of gases. Second, SGC generously contributed to the green and clean program of Pakistan. It is regularly planting trees. From March 2021 to November 2021, it planted 50000 trees of different varieties. SGC also invested in skill development programs. It was shared by SGC that it organized 416 training sessions, with 6,240 participants from the operation and maintenance team. SGC also trained more than 6,000 frontline employees, more than 500 local power engineers, college teachers, and students.
Huawei is another Chinese company that is implementing CPEC and Non-CPEC projects and also contributes to the skill development of Pakistani youth. Huawei has established ICT Academies in different universities in Pakistan. These academies are playing a transformative role in creating high-quality human capital for the fourth industrial revolution.
Based on the above discussion, it can be concluded that on the one hand, Chinese companies are assisting Pakistan to tackle social and development issues. And on the other hand, these companies are also helping Pakistan create high-quality human capital for the future, especially in the fields of engineering and ICT. That's why CPEC is dubbed as win-win cooperation for all segments of society.