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China will collaborate with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fund a highway project linking the capital of Guinea Bissau to other West African capitals
According to Nigerian website Ventures, construction of the 2,000 km Trans-West African Highway will be part of an agreement to develop facilities for economic co-operation signed recently in Abuja by the Chinese government and ECOWAS.
The agreement was signed by the Chinese deputy trade minister, Li Jinzao, and ECOWAS representatives.
The highway project will pass through Banjul, Bissau, Conakry, Freetown, Monrovia, Abidjan, Accra, Lomé and Cotonou.
These cities currently have no continuous road link, which often hinders trade and business-related travel, Ventures said.
According to John Hopkins University professor Deborah Brautigam's blog, China in Africa, the project will be "enormously complicated" to carry out as it will involve funding from nine countries.
"Perhaps the tender will be launched as a public-private partnership, with tolls. That is the Chinese model,” she said.
The Venture report commented that the project will be a significant step in China’s involvement in West Africa and Guinea Bissau.
It noted that the project will create new opportunities such as transporting cashew nuts, which are Guinea Bissau’s main export product, to the international market.