The Belt and Road Story: Bringing electricity to Ethiopia

Updated: May 13,2022

Ethiopia is an important country along the ancient Silk Road. In ancient Greek, it was described as "the land where the sun-tanned people live". 

Zhang Rui, a staff member from the Sinohydro Bureau 1 at POWERCHINA, is always busy working at the construction site of the AGRO power transmission and transformation project. He traced and checked the construction throughout the whole process and communicated with the local builders. The hot weather often makes him soaked in sweat.

"As long as you are willing to do it and take the initiative, you will surely make big progress," said Zhang. Being firmly grounded, he tried to communicate and record more with the owners and local officers every day to advance the project in an orderly way. His spoken English also improved a lot during the process.

At the Dragon Boat Festival in 2019, Zhang came to Shambu town alone. What awaited him was only a 9-square-meter hut and a pickup truck. Shambu is located in the western part of Oromia Regional State, far from the capital. He came here to make preparations for the ACFSMM power transmission and transformation project.

The ACFSMM project consists of three new substations, three expanded substations, and the related transmission and transformation lines, which are distributed in Oromia Regional State, Amhara Regional State and southern states.

The infrastructure in these areas is insufficient and the power supply is in extreme shortage. Facing the difficulties of the supply shortage and transportation, he did not complain, but tried hard to solve all the problems within just 10 days, completing the preliminary work and survey of the Shambu transformation substation.

During the implementation of the ACFSMM project, the epidemic continued to spread in Ethiopia. He led the young employees of the project department to take measures on the prevention and control of the virus, keeping the construction period unchanged. The construction was promoted in an orderly manner with his leadership. His performance has been well recognized by owners and the communities of the local area. The project also received a letter of thanks from EEP, the national electric power company of Ethiopia.

Zhang moved to the AGRO power transmission and transformation project at the begining of this year. The project has to go through a series of procedures, on-site surveys, design and demonstration, finalizing, receiving approval and construction. Facing different problems, he carried the persistence and perseverance to the construction site. 

The project team and he worked diligently and resolved the challenges such as the rainy weather, bad transportation and complicated cultural environment. Within two months, they completed the main civil work of the first transformation substation, breaking the progress record of the regional project department.

In March, he organized young volunteers from the Southeast African regional department of POWERCHINA to visit the children and donate stationery, books, epidemic prevention supplies and other materials to them. He demonstrated the responsibilities of POWERCHINA's young employees who spare no efforts to work and live in foreign countries with passion, knowledge and remarkable efforts. During the epidemic outbreak in Jilin province, he carried out promotion activities against the epidemic to send greetings to the hometown.

Zhang 's contribution has been recognized by the company and people in all walks of life. The ACFSMM project he participated in was awarded as the May 4th Red Flag Youth League Branch twice, and he won the title of Outstanding Communist Youth League Member of the SASAC of Jilin Province.


The Southeast Asia regional department of Sinohydro Bureau 1 is awarded the title of Young Pioneers. 


Zhang Rui and a foreign employee of POWERCHINA pose for a photo at the construction site.