China To Pump $770 Million Into Another African Port

port of Manzanillo, Colima Mexico
China Harbour Engineering Company’s upgrades to the Pacific coast port of Manzanillo, Colima Mexico

by Saliou Samb (Reuters) China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) signed a $770 million contract with Guinea’s government on Monday to upgrade the port in the capital, Conakry, expanding Chinese economic influence in the West African iron and bauxite producer.

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Under the contact, CHEC, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co Ltd, will construct three docks, roads and other infrastructure in the eastern zone of the port, providing parking for up to 600 trucks.

The port in Conakry handles nearly all goods shipped into Guinea, and to some landlocked neighbours like Mali. French logistics giant Bollore Group runs the port’s adjacent containers terminal.

“With the completion of this project extending the Autonomous Port of Conakry, it will become the largest in the sub-region,” the CHEC director in Guinea, Ding Jialong, said in a speech at the signing ceremony in Conakry.

Another Chinese company, China Water Electric, began construction late last year on the $1.5 billion, 515-megawatt Souapiti hydroelectric dam, a cornerstone of President Alpha Conde’s infrastructure push in the power-starved country.

Guinea’s economy is still recovering from the blow dealt by the Ebola epidemic, which officially ended in June. The International Monetary Fund expects roughly 5 percent economic growth this year, up from zero in 2015, driven by gains in the mining, agriculture and energy sectors.

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Peter Cooney

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