By CultureBanx Team
- Cameroon's government wants the new harbor to stimulate its economy
- China Harbour Engineering Company has spearheaded the $1.3B project
Chinese investors want to transform the Cameroonian city of Kribi into to the largest seaport in central Africa. They are looking to gain a foothold in the country and open the region’s iron ore, cotton and cocoa to the rest of the world.
Why This Matters: China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) has spearheaded the project. Around 5% of the $1.3 billion budget for the new harbor is being financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, with the rest falling to the government of Cameroon. This is the country’s most ambitious project since independence in 1960.
Cameroon's government is hopeful the new port will stimulate its economy. China is focused on the country’s iron reserves, which are to be connected to new road and rail infrastructure. The official opening of the port’s first container and multi-purpose terminals back in March was a bright spot.
The initial agreement to build the port at Kribi was signed in 2009, and it’s due to be completed in 2035. However, by 2013, only $25 million of the $41 million that Prime Minister Philemon Yang approved for compensation back in 2010 had been paid out. The other $16 million is alleged to have been embezzled by corrupt politicians.
Situational Awareness: To build the port, the village of Lolabe had to be destroyed. Unfortunately for its 300 inhabitants, land law in Cameroon is a gray zone. They were given a small amount of money in damages and were then forced to immediately leave their homes for a CHEC-constructed housing development.
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