(Business in Cameroon) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide XAF43 billion for the renovation of the 330-km Bélabo-Ngaoundéré railway line.
This was revealed by Arnaud Demoor, the EU delegation’s Head of Cooperation in Cameroon. The executive was speaking at the launch of a validation workshop for the project’s feasibility studies and advanced planning, in Yaoundé last March 6.
The feasibility studies and advanced planning were funded by an over XAF360 million donation from the European Union, in the framework of a technical cooperation facility.
The studies to be validated during the workshop were aimed at analysing the feasibility of the renovation project. The studies also inform Cameroon about the best investment option to meet the line’s current and future traffic demand. These investment options will take the financial, social, institutional and environmental conditions into account. It will also assess many development options and, based on a multi-criteria analysis, suggest a solution to the Cameroonian Ministry of Transport.
According to Arnaud Demoor, the renovation of Bélabo-Ngaoundéré railway line is in line with the EU’s priorities. Indeed, he explains, those priorities align with the impacts expected from this renovation. The said impacts are an increase in passenger traffic thanks to the facilitation of mobility as well as reduction of exploitation costs and travelling time. In addition, the renovation will improve transport safety and reduce greenhouse gas emission (thanks to the modal shift from road to rail). This reduction of greenhouse gas emission will notably contribute to the fight against climate change at a time when the EU has just launched its Green Pact.
Let’s note that this is the first time the railway line, inaugurated in 1974, will be renovated. For its renovation, the financing option suggested is a loan/grant solution.
In that regard, the XAF43 billion provided by the EU will fund detailed studies and renovation works. With the XAF15.44 billion donation-whose agreement was signed in February 2019, in Yaoundé- included, the total amount already raised for the project is XAF58.44 billion (out of the XAF100.84 billion required).
The remaining financing could come from the French Development Agency (AFD) with whom discussions are underway.