VENTURES AFRICA – French billionaire industrialist Vincent Bollore has revealed plans by his investment group, Bollore, to invest about 50 billion CFA francs ($98 million) in a high-speed train line linking Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to its commercial hub Douala.
Bollore, the chief executive of the French family conglomerate, said the group also plans to extend Cameroon’s rail line to some countries in the sub-region and invest in renewable energy.
Speaking after a meeting Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, Bollore disclosed to journalists the company’s short term investment plans. He said the company intends to introduce a high-speed train line between Yaounde and Douala within 12 months, and that the project will cost about 50 billion CFA francs ($98 million).
The Bollore group took over management of Cameroon’s national railway in 1999 for a 20-year concession following the government’s decision to privatise the state-run rail company.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the former French colony’s underdeveloped rail and transport network continues to undermine efforts to boost economic growth in the Central African powerhouse.
The country’s rail network consists of a main line running from the port city of Douala through the capital to Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region in the north of the country, and shorter line from Douala to Kumba in the South-West.
Bollore group also currently manages Cameroon’s main container terminal at the port of Douala, and it is vying for the concession of another terminal at the Kribi deep sea port which is under construction.
Vincent Bollore is described as an industrialist, corporate raider and businessman. He is the head of the family invesment group Bollore, which has interests in the economies of several former French colonies in Africa.
Image via Forbes