28 January 2021 – Construction of the first major highway in Guinea-Bissau started last week as the oil rich country ramps-up its infrastructure drive with the financial backing of China.
The historic 8.2km long highway will connect the airport in the capital of Bissau with Safim, a city in the Biombo Region of Guinea-Bissau. Safim is part of the Metropolitan Region of Bissau, a conurbation that includes the cities of Bissau, Prabis and Nhacra. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
At the launch of the project last week in Bissau the Guinean President, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, said the work marked the beginning of a major infrastructure drive in Guinea-Bissau to upgrade its road and infrastructure network. The event was also attended by several members of the government and the Chinese ambassador in Guinea Bissau.
Guinean Public Works Minister Fidélis Forbs said that the work will improve road circulation. The minister highlighted a series of works carried out by Chinese cooperation in Guinea-Bissau, the result of a “timeless relationship” that he said was not exhausted in “feelings, values and materials”, but has been translated “into tangible results.”
The lanes of the highway will be 3.5m wide and will reduce travel time between Bissau and Safim by 50%. China will fund the entire project at an estimated cost of about EUR 13.6-million.
President Embaló praised the “good relations” between Guinea-Bissau and China, saying that after his victory in the presidential elections on December 29, 2019, the first international call for congratulations that he received was from the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.
The Guinean leader said that this marks the start of a major infrastructure boom and that more construction will follow. “We are a concrete generation, so we like to talk little and work hard,” said Embaló, noting that China “has always been on the side of Guinea-Bissau.”
According to Radio China International, the Guinean president said that China has been offering support to his country for a long time in the sectors of health, education, agriculture and others.
China’s ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Guo Ce, said that the African country “has experienced stability under the leadership of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló” and that from now on the country will launch itself into the process of economic development. Guo Ce said he hoped the road would help the country to develop in all areas.
Source: Club of Mozambique – edited by WhyAfrica