BEIJING, Oct 13 (Reuters) - China’s Jiangsu Etern Co Ltd signed a deal worth $1.1 billion to strengthen the power grid network in Bangladesh, the company said on Thursday, ahead of a visit to the country by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd and Etern signed the four-and-a-half year deal to “expand, rebuild and upgrade Bangladesh’s nationwide electrical network system”, Etern said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.
Etern said Bangladesh had applied for concessionary loans from China for the project, which is the latest addition to Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” plan, under which China is seeking to open new trade routes and markets as its economy slows.
Etern, which produces mainly cables and communications equipment, has had other deals in Bangladesh, including a winning bid for a power plant project for $304.6 million in August.
Xi begins a trip to Cambodia and Bangladesh this week, and also to India, where he will attend a summit of the BRICS group of emerging nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He is due to arrive in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Friday and will be the first Chinese head of state to visit the country in 30 years, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China’s growing economic role in Bangladesh is a worry for Indian officials, who have long fretted over Beijing’s encroachment on to territory it considers its own back yard.
Nearly two-fifths of Bangladesh’s 160 million people do not have access to electricity, according to the World Bank. (Reporting by Michael Martina. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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