#Cameroon Welcomes €123M #EU Backing for #Belabo-#Ngaoundere Railway Upgrade

The new loan for the Belabo – Ngaoundere railway represents the EIB’s largest ever financing for transport investment in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest single investment in Cameroon.

  • €106 million EIB loan represents largest ever for a project in Cameroon and largest support for sustainable transport in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • €17 million European Union grant to support project and best practice implementation;
  • 330 km railway renewal to improve freight and passenger links to northern Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic;
  • Improved transport to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and reduce road use

The European Union  has agreed to provide €123 million to support upgrading of the 330km Belabo – Ngaoundere railway line in Cameroon.

The €106 million European Investment Bank loan and €17.1 million European Union grant were confirmed in Yaoundé earlier today at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Joseph Ngute. Thomas Ostros EIB Vice President, Alamine Ousmane Mey , Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe, Minister of Transport and Phillipe Van Damme Ambassador of the European Union to Cameroon announced the new EU support.

The new EIB loan, EU investment grant and technical assistance will finance and support the €243 million project to enable faster and more reliable freight and passenger rail transport between central and northern Cameroon, enhance connections between the port of Douala, Chad and the Central African Republic and provide a sustainable alternative to road transport.

“Upgrading Cameroon’s national transport network is crucial to improve lives and create new opportunities for our people. I welcome the European Investment Bank’s support for the Belabo – Ngaoundere railway. The EIB’s largest ever investment in Cameroon is a flagship of sustainable transport for our country and for Africa.” said Prime Minister Joseph Ngute.

“Renovation of transport infrastructure is, just like meeting energy needs, essential for the performance and competitiveness of our economy. This shows the broader importance of the financing agreements for the project to renew the Bélabo-Ngaoundéré railway line (PRBN), confirmed today in the presence of Prime Minister and Head of Government. This major rail project will help establish our multimodal transport strategy and strengthen connection of places and people across Central African. This blended financing totalling just over 80 billion FCFA demonstrates the strength of our strategic partnership with European financial institutions” said Alamine Ousme Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Integration.

“Agreements for the financing and implementation of the Bélabo-Ngaoundéré Line Renewal Project (PRBN) signed today, mark a decisive step in the renewal program for the entire operational rail network, initiated at the end of the 1990s. With the PRBN, we will have 330 additional km of railway track renewed, approximately 30% of the national network. Operating performance will be improved thanks to the substantial reduction in journey times for both passenger and freight trains; improvement of passenger comfort, safety and the capacity of rail traffic, all crucial to shift traffic from mining in the Adamaoua Region and contributing to delivering national development objectives in the sector” said Ernest Ngallè Bibèhè, Minister of Transport.

“Investing in sustainable transport is crucial to unlock economic opportunities, connect communities and reduce carbon emissions. The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide €106 million combined with a €17.1 million EU investment grant to renew the Belabo – Ngaoundere railway and back visionary investment to transform Cameroon’s transport network. The excellent cooperation between Cameroonian and EIB transport, technical and financial experts will enable the project to benefit from international best-practice and benefit future generations of Cameroonians.” said Thomas Ostros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.

“Cameroon and the European Union are committed to climate action. Upgrading the Belabo – Ngaoundere demonstrates investing in sustainable transport will benefit both Cameroon and neighbouring countries. This project will be supported by both the EIB loan and EU grants to accelerate upgrading work and deliver better transport connections for this country.” said Phillipe Van Damme Ambassador of the European Union to Cameroon.

Investing in a more reliable railway.

The Belabo – Ngaoundere line was opened in 1974 and has never been modernised since.

Once upgrading work is completed in 2028 more than 1 million passengers a year are expected to benefit from the improved service and upgrading the railway is expected to stimulate economic growth and create jobs along the route and in northern Cameroon.

The project includes upgrading rail tracks and engineering work, improving station facilities and improving rail crossing safety.

Once complete the lines is expected to enable passenger trains to travel at 90 km an hour and freight trains at 70 km an hour.

Largest ever EIB support for sustainable transport in sub-Saharan Africa

The new loan for the Belabo – Ngaoundere railway represents the EIB’s largest ever financing for transport investment in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest single investment in Cameroon.

EIB Vice President Thomas Ostros formally agreed financing for the Belabo – Ngaoundere on the first day of a four day official visit to Cameroon.

Global transport best practice to strengthen Cameroon rail investment

The project is benefiting from technical support from the European Union to help project implementation and share international best practice.

A EU technical assistance (TA) grant of €5.5 million mobilised by the EIB. The technical assistance package includes a first technical assistance for project preparation support, financed and managed by the EIB, using a EU TA grant of €2 million, which has supported project preparation over the last year.

Project implementation will benefit from a a second technical assistance through a grant managed by the EIB and backed by €3.5 million EU grant support.

Team Europe transforming transport in Cameroon

The Belabo – Ngaoundere renewal is expected to be backed by financing from the Republic of Cameroon, French development agency AFD and grant support from the European Union, including the €17.1 million investment grant, as well as the €106 million EIB loan formally agreed today.

Building on EIB engagement across Africa

The European Investment Bank has financed transformational public and private investment across Africa since 1965 and since then provided nearly €10 billion for transport investment across the continent.

The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states.

Background information

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world

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