January 12, 2011 / 3:57 PM / 8 years ago

Cameroon takes China loan for Kribi port project

Cameroon's President Paul Biya and Cameroon's First Lady Chantal Biya arrive at the opening ceremony of the Francophone Summit in Montreux October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon will take a 207 billion CFA concessionary loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to fund construction of a deep sea port at Kribi, the government said on Wednesday.

China has invested in projects across Africa in the last few years, seeking to secure resources to fuel its own economy’s rapid growth.

Cameroon Economy, Planning and Regional Development Minister Louis Paul Motaze announced the loan deal at a press conference on Wednesday following meetings with Exim Bank chairman Li Rougu in the capital Yaounde.

“We’ve had a very fruitful discussion with Mr. Li Rougu and reached an agreement with him that his bank will grant us a 207 billion CFA francs concessionary loan to develop the first phase of the Kribi deep sea port project,” he said.

He said the deal would be finalised this week. He did not give details on the terms of the loan.

The Kribi port would be used for shipment of iron ore, alumina, cobalt and nickel from a series of mining projects due to come into operation over the next five years.

Cameroon’s port of Douala currently handles about 95 percent of the central African country’s shipping volumes, but its capacity is restricted by its location on the sediment-filled Wouri River estuary that requires routine dredging.

The total cost of the first phase of the Kribi port project is estimated at 282 billion CFA. The port would cater to larger ships than Douala can handle and include road and rail links to mining projects, the government has said.

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