Nigeria’s future railway engineers are being trained in China


Play episode:

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 hand over 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 and Cobus from Changsha to discuss what it was like to study in China and what he hopes to do in the future as a part of a new generation of Nigerian railway engineers.