China's First Highway wins Cameroon motorway deal

Traffic flows along the Nairobi-Thika highway project, under construction near Kenya's capital Nairobi, September 23, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - A Chinese firm has been awarded the contract to build a six-lane motorway linking Cameroon’s capital Yaounde and the economic hub city of Douala, the west African nation’s economy minister said.

The news come days after Cameroon reached a 241.4 billion CFA francs loan agreement with China’s Eximbank to finance the project.

“We launched a bid and it is a Chinese firm, the China First Highway Engineering Company that won the contract. Work will start soon and will be completed within a maximum five years,” Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi said on state radio late on Monday.

The expressway will cut the distance travelled between the two cities from 265 km (165 miles) on the existing road to about 215 km and it is also expected to benefit trade for the entire central African sub-region, particularly Central African Republic and Chad that rely on Douala for much of their trade.