ABIDJAN, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Cote d'Ivoire authorities on Tuesday launched the expansion works of the Abidjan Port, a project that will transform the country's commercial capital into the West African maritime transport hub, an official source said.
The project that will cost 560 billion CFA Francs (1.12 billion U.S. dollars), 85 percent of it provided by China, will include the expansion and deepening of the Vridi channel so that it can receive larger vessels that pass through the African coastlines, as well as construction of a second container terminal to increase the port's cargo capacity.
"This new structural project that is a fruit of Sino-Cote d'Ivoire cooperation, is currently the largest bilateral project to receive the highest funding from the Chinese government," China's Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire Tang Weibin said.
The project will be funded through a loan acquired by the Cote d'Ivoire state from Eximbank of China and will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
"It is the fruit of mutual support and cooperation between our two countries," the Chinese ambassador said during the ceremony to launch the construction works.
According to Tang, the completion of the expansion work in four years will reinforce Cote d'Ivoire's economic development, while also taking Sino-Cote d'Ivoire cooperation to a new level.
China has already supported Cote d'Ivoire in modernization of its infrastructure, especially in construction of hospitals, completion of Abidjan-Grand Bassam road, construction of the Olympic stadium, completion of Soubre hydroelectric dam in the southwest region, provision of water in Abidjan and construction of a new industrial zone in Abidjan.
Abidjan Port is the "lung" of Cote d'Ivoire's economy with 91 percent of the country's foreign trade conducted through the port. It generates 85 percent of Cote d'Ivoire's customs revenue and creates 54,000 direct and indirect jobs.