€305m Gabon project gets backing

Financing has been secured for a €305m infrastructure upgrade by Gabon Special Economic Zone Ports (GSEZ Ports) at Owendo Port in Gabon.

PIDG company, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), has arranged the long-term debt finance for GSEZ Ports, which has been awarded a 30-year concession to build and operate the port.

EAIF is also lending the company €40m over 15 years, while the African Development Bank (AfDB), which led the structuring of the finance, is lending €40m.

“The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund immediately saw the strategic economic development potential for Gabon of our new port,” said Théophile Ogandaga, deputy general director at GSEZ Ports, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gabon Special Economic Zone, whose shareholders are  Olam International (40.5%), Gabonese Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) owned by the Republic of Gabon (38.5%) and Africa Finance Corporation (21%).

Mr Ogandaga added: “GSEZ Ports has benefitted from the expertise, experience and skill of EAIF and from the PIDG focus on special enterprise zones. Our state-of-the-art port has been angular and critical for Gabon’s economy during the last two years and this new funding will help us elevate it even further.”

Owendo’s existing port facilities for general cargo had reached maximum capacity. GSEZ Port’s new infrastructure adds an additional 4m tonnes of capacity, doubling the port’s capability.

The new infrastructure will handle general bulk and liquid cargoes and container traffic. It includes a 500m long main berth. The berth has been dredged to a depth of 14m, allowing it to accommodate bigger ships. Investment in modern cargo handling equipment is also expected to speed up turnaround.

GSEZ Ports is EAIF’s first project in Gabon. It is the largest industrial-scale infrastructure public private partnership yet seen in the country.

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