28 October 2013

Congo-Brazzaville: Congo to Use Chinese Expertise in Special Zone Building - Minister

Brazzaville — The Republic of Congo's Minister for Special Economic Zones Alain Akouala Atipault says the Central African country welcomes Chinese support in the process of setting up special economic zones.

Speaking to Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Thursday, Akouala said the two countries last year signed an agreement authorizing the formation of a company with both Congolese and Chinese shareholding to develop the first Sino-Congolese special economic zone in Pointe Noire and Oyo-Ollombo regions.

"This will not only be for the celebration of 50 years of cooperation between China and the Republic of Congo, but also prepare for the next 50 years through economic cooperation," the minister said.

The Congolese government plans to set up four special economic zones in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire, Ouesso and Oyo-Ollombo using Chinese experience in the area.

He revealed that the feasibility studies for the Oyo-Ollombo special economic zone, which will focus on green economy, have been completed, while those for Pointe Noire, Congo's commercial capital, are in the final phase.

"In Pointe Noire, we shall develop mining complexes, steel manufacturing plants and petrochemicals as well as a port dedicated to exporting minerals," Akouala said.

The Brazzaville special economic zone will serve as the financial and logistical hub and for the transformation of agricultural products and manufacturing of other products.

Situated in the northwest of the country, the Ouesso special economic zone will focus on agribusiness activities and mining.

He affirmed that the year 2014 will mark the launch of construction work of the special economic zones in the Republic of Congo.

The special economic zones aim to end the country dependence on oil, create jobs, process raw materials and alleviate poverty.

"We should remember that the idea of Chinese special economic zones was pushed by visionary Chinese leaders, the determination of the Chinese people and the political stability created by the Chinese system," Akouala said, noting that "the Chinese experience could be very beneficial to the Republic of Congo."

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