Cameroon and Congo have inked a partnership deal to construct a 149-kilometer railway line connecting the Nabemba-Mbalam iron ore production site in Congo to the port of Kribi in Cameroon. This transformative infrastructure endeavour is poised to substantially enhance the economic landscapes of both nations.
The railway, with an estimated cost of US$14 billion, is designed to have the capacity to convey up to 35 million metric tonnes of iron ore annually. This ambitious undertaking aims to streamline the export process for iron ore from the Nabemba-Mbalam mine, recognised as one of Africa’s largest untapped iron ore deposits.
Projections suggest that the project will generate numerous employment opportunities throughout its construction and operational phases while yielding substantial tax revenue for the respective governments. Furthermore, it is anticipated to bolster transportation connections between the two countries, thereby fostering increased trade and economic growth.
Despite its economic promises, the construction of the railway line raises environmental apprehensions. The developers of the project have committed to stringent adherence to environmental standards and minimising the impact of construction on the local environment.
Construction activities are slated to commence in August 2024, with a targeted completion date set for 2027. A group of international lenders, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, are managing the financing for this ambitious project.
The Nabemba-Mbalam iron ore project is positioned as a pivotal catalyst for regional development in Central Africa. The railway line is poised to establish a crucial linkage between the mine and the port, facilitating the global export of iron ore. This, in turn, is expected to generate vital revenue for both Cameroon and Congo, contributing significantly to the overall economic advancement of the region.
The collaboration between Cameroon and Congo marks a noteworthy stride in unlocking the economic potential inherent in the Nabemba-Mbalam iron ore project. The construction of the railway line is envisioned to not only create job opportunities and revenue but also enhance transportation links, thereby fostering the holistic development of both nations and the broader region.