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S.Korea to help Cameroon with new rail network

By on September 21, 2009

Cameroon has hired South Korea’s Korpec and Chunsuk Engineering to plan a new rail network that will link local and neighbouring exporters of commodities to key port routes, officials said.

Aside from replacing the central African country’s ageing passenger network — which has seen two fatal accidents in recent weeks — the network is aimed at serving local mining, cocoa and coffee sectors.

“The (existing) train tracks and wagons are old … dilapidated and can no more withstand the ever growing heavy traffic,” said Roger Ambassa Diné, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development.

“We believe the network will generate foreign exchange through the transportation of transit goods to neighbouring landlocked Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) as well as northern Congo Republic and Gabon,” he said in an interview.

The South Korean engineering firm has 13 months to produce a blueprint for the new network, with construction due to start shortly after.

“Several Korean companies are interested and willing to invest in the planned national railway network,” Korean delegation head Lee Hun Ki told reporters separately.

The project will involve doubling the existing track that runs the western port city of Douala through the capital Yaounde to the eastern city of Ngaoundere and aim to resolve a transport problem holding back a project to exploit bauxite and an alumina plant at the nearby town of Ngaoundal.

It will revive a line linking Douala to Nkongsamba in the western robusta coffee growing zone and a branch to nearby Kumba, the trading hub of the main cocoa producing region. It will also establish a tram network for Douala port city.

A line connecting Cameroon’s eastern border with the Central African Republic will be extended to the southeastern part of the country close to Congo Republic and Gabon.


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