SA delegation discovers central African port development opportunities

Research and consulting specialists Africa House led a high-level business delegation to central African port cities this month, to explore business opportunities in new port developments in Cameroon and neighbouring Republic of Congo.

The visit followed a fact finding mission by Paul Runge, Director Projects & Development Finance at Africa House, to Douala and Kribi in Cameroon as well as Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo, where new and upcoming port development promise opportunities for a range of businesses in the support infrastructure and ancillary supply fields.

The investigation was undertaken in close collaboration with Bolloré and Necotrans, who are the holders of various concessions at the ports, and who have partnered Africa House in facilitating site visits.

Runge reports that a considerable number of opportunities exist across a range of sectors at the Greenfields Kribi deepwater port. He says: “Given the limitations of Douala port, Kribi has been identified as a future hub for development of petrochemicals production as well as general cargo use.

Port improvements include the extension of the quay by 700 metres, establishment of a new container terminal and the construction of additional warehouses. A major port industrial zone is planned. An LNG plant and a cocoa processing plant are also being prepared. Rail links to the inland iron ore mines are important components of the programme.”

At Douala port, which is an important gateway for supply to the land-locked Chad and Central African Republic markets, a number of port expansion initiatives are planned. The nearby Limbedeepwater port development will enhance capacity and a fertilizer plant is also planned for Limbe.

Pointe Noire port, also a gateway to the interior markets is set to be expanded by 31 berths over an area of nine square kilometres. Related projects are rail linkages to the inland iron ore mines, the rehabilitation of the CORAF oil refinery, the development of the Dolisie dry port and planned corridor roads. A major dedicated minerals port is also planned.

To further explore the opportunities in these regions and initiate talks on business opportunities, Africa House led South Africa-based business development managers and senior strategic executives on a visit to Cameroon and Republic of Congo in October 2016. The six-day mission included site visits and sector briefings, as well as meetings with South African High Commission representatives, the Cameroon Investment Promotion Agency, SDV Bolloré Africa Logistics, South African companies in Cameroon, the Cameroon National Ports Authority & Port Authority of Douala, SDV Manutention, the Congo Investment Promotion Agency, Pointe Noire Port Authority, individual clients and local mining companies.

The visit follows Africa House’s successful formula for introducing South Africa-based businesses to opportunities across the continent. Africa House hosts three to four successful business missions per year to key development regions across Africa. Runge says: “The group mission format takes care of complicated logistical arrangements for delegates, as well as allowing delegates to be taken more seriously because they are part of a formal mission. The programme also supports networking and business collaboration among the members of the mission themselves.”

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