While China’s new railways in Africa are generating a lot of excitement there’s also an equal amount of concern over who will maintain this new infrastructure once Chinese contractors handover the project to local stakeholders. In Nigeria, it’s going to be someone like Atolagbe Shakirudeen Olabanji.
Atolagbe just graduated a few weeks ago with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Central South University in Changsha, China. He and 45 classmates from Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria’s Kaduna state all received full scholarships from the state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to study topics related to railway engineering.
Once their studies are complete (some, including Atolagbe, are going on to pursue master’s degrees) and they can safely travel back to Nigeria, these young graduates will start work with CCECC to take over responsibility for the country’s new Standard Gauge Railways that are now coming online.
Atolagbe joins Eric & Cobus from Changhsa to discuss what it was like to study in China and also to explain what he hopes to do in the future as a part of a new generation of Nigerian railway engineers.
- United States Institute of Peace: China’s Role in Nigerian Railway Development and Implications for Security and Development by Chen Yunnan
- Global Construction Review: China begins work on free-of-charge transport university for Nigeria
- Pew Research Center: Nigerians living near a major Belt and Road project grew more positive toward China after it was completed by Dennis Quinn
About Atolagbe Shakirudeen Olabanji:
Atolagbe is a recent graduate of the Civil Engineering Department at Central South University, Changsha, China. He is an exchange student from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria, and thus received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from both Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria (2014-2018), and Central South University, Changsha, China (2018-2020) respectively. Atolagbe is a research-oriented person who plans to pursue a master’s degree program in CSU and specialize more on railway engineering and with a research focus on operation-maintenance of railway lines.
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