CameroonÂ andÂ ChadÂ have reached an initial agreement to linkÂ northeastern CameroonÂ to the neighbouring capital N’Djamena byÂ rail, according to officials from the two countries.
YaoundeÂ unveiled an ambitious plan in 2012 for building railways to expand trade withÂ ChadÂ as well as southern neighbours such asGabonÂ andÂ Equatorial Guinea, but work has not yet begun.
The new agreement between the two countries, reached on June 3, will launch a feasibility study although financing for the newÂ infrastructureÂ has yet to be agreed.
“If the work programme is respected, then work should begin in 2016,” saidÂ Chad‘sinfrastructureÂ ministerÂ Adoum Younousmi.
The landlocked central African country ofÂ ChadÂ is seeking ways to reduce its isolation through buildingÂ infrastructureÂ projectsÂ linking it to theÂ Atlantic coast.
Around 80% ofÂ Chad‘s imports and exports already pass viaÂ Cameroon‘s commercial capital ofÂ DoualaÂ but theÂ roadÂ route is long and expensive for traders.
Cameroon‘sÂ transportÂ ministerÂ Robert NkiliÂ told State radio on Wednesday that theÂ projectwould also benefit northern regions ofÂ CameroonÂ where traders were struggling to export their merchandise to other regions.