Battle for the container terminal at the Douala Port: Franco-Swiss break dance takes a political turn
The battle for the container terminal concession at the Port Autonome de Douala has taken a decidedly political turn. As reported by the West Africa Newsletter, the intervention by the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on 23 October (WAN 810) has helped Bolloré, the current concession holder, to suspend the process of awarding the port concession to its Italian-Swiss rival Terminal Investment (TIL, WAN 807).
But TIL is not taking this situation lying down. On 28 October, Switzerland’s ambassador to Cameroon, Pietro Lazzeri, took advantage of a long-scheduled appointment with the Cameroonian president Paul Biya to transmit a ‘special letter’ from the Swiss president, Ueli Maurer. In his letter, Maurer expresses, among other topics, his dismay at the treatment reserved for TIL at the port of Douala, particularly given the efforts of Switzerland since the spring to mediate between the Cameroonian government and various anglophone political groups that are active in the west of the country. The missive sets out the initiatives undertaken by Swiss diplomats, who have been trying to set up a joint platform for all these anglophone groups, and expresses bafflement over the freezing of the process to award the port concession to TIL.
Culled from Africa Intelligence