A driver pays his fee at a toll booth on the Kribi-Lolabe highway in Kiribi, Cameroon on July 29, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

New Chinese-built highway in southwestern Cameroon better connects people and goods to deep seaport, boosts development of local industrial zone, expands country’s highway network, boosts local economy and improve ties between China and African countries.

The road, built by the China Harbor Engineering Company, was inaugurated on July 29. It connects the deep seaport of Kribi to Cameroon’s national road N7.

The 38.5 kilometer road, with an expected speed of 110 km/h, has six lanes, with the two middle lanes reserved for future use.

The current daily traffic of the road is about 600 trips, which is in line with expectations.

“As a support facility for the port, the road also supports the development of industrial zones and the integration of the port and the city,” said Xu Huajiang, deputy chief economist of CHEC, who is also the director. general of the CHEC Central Africa division and the goalkeeper. construction and operation of the Kribi-Lolabe highway.

Cameroon is a country rich in natural resources and the export of its mineral resources is one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth.

The local government has planned to build a new town next to Kribi Deep Seaport to boost the export of industrial and mining products, such as iron, aluminum and fuel oil.

“The new road will connect the port to a major iron ore mine, facilitating the export of iron ore,” he added.

The project not only benefits the transport of goods, but also creates jobs for the local population.

Cameroon Kribi-Lolabe Highway Corp, which operates the highway, has 86 employees, 78 of whom are local.

Xu said more local employees would be hired.

Ntsam Bifere Marthe Aimee joined the company as Toll Booth Manager in April and is very grateful to have this opportunity.

She studied in China and is fluent in Chinese. She has helped train local staff since joining the company and is happy with her job.

“I get a decent salary, including meal, phone and housing allowances, as well as social insurance. I can take the company bus to work. The working environment is also good,” she said.

“I am very grateful that CHEC built the highway for us and allowed me to find stable employment near my home,” she added.

Speaking at the road’s inauguration ceremony, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Works, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, said the opening marked the completion of the first phase of the Kribi-Edea highway.

“It is a gem of development that will boost Cameroon’s industrialization process,” said Djoumessi.

Xinhua contributed to this story.