Project ID: 30926

China Eximbank provides $482.8 million preferential buyer credit for Phase 1 of Yaounde-Douala Highway Project

Commitment amount

$ 566866853.766598

Adjusted commitment amount

$ 566866853.77

Constant 2021 USD


Funding agency [Type]

Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) [State-owned Policy Bank]




Transport and storage (Code: 210)

Flow type


Level of public liability

Central government debt





Mixed (The next section lists the possible statuses.)





Financial Flow Classification

OOF-like (The next section lists the possible statuses.)

Official Development Assistance

Other Official Flows

Vague (Official Finance)

Flows categorized based on OECD-DAC guidelines

Project lifecycle


Implementation (The next section lists the possible statuses.)










Planned start


Actual start


Planned complete


NOTE: Red circles denote delays between planned and actual dates


On March 8, 2012, China Eximbank and Cameroon's Ministry of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development (MINEPAT) signed a $482,800,000 preferential buyer credit (PBC) agreement [CHINA EXIMBANK PBC NO. (2012) 10TOTAL NO.(198) 1420303052012210261] for Phase 1 of the Yaounde-Douala Highway Project. The loan carries the following borrowing terms: a 20 year maturity, a 7 year grace period, a 2% interest rate, a 0% default (penalty) interest rate, a 0.30% commitment fee, and a 0.30% management fee. The borrower was expected to use the proceeds of the loan (PBC) to finance approximately 85% of the cost of a $568,000,000 commercial (EPC) contract between Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Works of the Republic of Cameroon and China First Highway Engineering Co. Ltd. (CFHEC), which was signed on August 8, 2011. As of December 31, 2020, the loan had achieved a 73.2% disbursement rate (with an undisbursed balance of CFA 69.4 billion). The loan’s amount outstanding was equivalent to CFA 188.1 billion as of December 31, 2020. The purpose of the Yaounde-Douala highway project is to facilitate the construction of a 215 km road linking Douala on the western coast with capital Yaounde. Phase 1 will involve construction of a 68.3 km long road, which will run from Yaoundé to Bot Makak/Bibodi. The six-lane highway will be the first new motorway since the country's independence. The project seeks to replace the existing hazardous two-lane highway, and it aims to boost domestic and sub-regional trade as well as shorten the distance between Douala and Yaounde from 265 km to 215 km. CFHEC was the general EPC contractor responsible for project implementation. Phase 1 construction activities began on April 15, 2014, and the originally expected project completion date was October 13, 2018; however, by April 29, 2014, there was reportedly a protracted conflict between China First Highway Engineering Co. Ltd. (CFHEC) and the Control Mission led by the SCET-Tunisie/Louis Berger. Project implementation was delayed by unpaid indemnity owed to those living along the first 10 km of highway. The Cameroonian authorities also reportedly made modifications to the specifications of the project by increasing the speed limit from 100 km/hour to 110 km/hour and adding extra lanes, leading the EPC contractor to assert that according to the budget only 47 km of the road could be constructed under such conditions. By January 2015, construction had recommenced, as reported by the China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) who noted that tree felling had taken place along 40 km of the road’s route and that earthworks had started not long before. Then, in 2017, delays in payment to the contractor led to a one month suspension of construction beginning on May 2, 2017 and concluding in June 2017 after settlements were paid. As of May 2019, Phase 1 had achieved a 74% completion rate. As of February 2020, the project had achieved a 80% completion rate and 6 of 36 engineering structures were not yet finished. In April 2020, the company in charge of supervising the works, SCET-TUNISIE, reported that the project was scheduled to reach completion by December 2020 in spite of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of August 2021, the project had achieved a 98% completion rate. There are some indications that the China Eximbank loan for Phase 1 of the Yaounde-Douala Highway Project may have financially underperformed vis-a-vis the original expectations of the lender. In January 2019, Cameroon unilaterally withheld debt service payments to China Eximbank. The lender responded by withholding new loan disbursements. Then, in July 2019, China Eximbank and the Government of Cameroon signed a debt rescheduling agreement (as captured via Project ID#88213). Under the terms of the agreement, China Eximbank agreed to reschedule 18 loans previously contracted by the Government of Cameroon — with scheduled principal repayments between July 2019 and March 2022 — by allowing the borrower to defer scheduled principal repayments between July 2019 and March 2022 to later dates but without any maturity extensions. The total amount of restructured debt was equivalent CFA 148 billion ($253 million) — or 70% of the loan principal that was scheduled for repayment between July 2019 and March 2022. Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Cameroon agreed to repay 30% of the loan principal according to the original July 2019-March 2022 schedule (i.e. without any payment deferrals). The lender and the borrower also agreed to cancel the committed but undisbursed loan balances worth approximately CFA 10 billion (for certain loans with disbursement deadlines that had already passed). Then, in January 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classified the Government Cameroon as facing a high risk of debt distress. Eighteen months later, during an address before Cameroon’s National Assembly on June 28, 2021, the Minister of Water and Energy (MINEE) Gaston Eloundou Esommba provided an update on the ICBC-financed Bini à Warak Hydroelectric Power Plant Project. He noted that the project had been 'on hold' since November 2019 because ICBC suspended the loan agreement, even though the Government of Cameroon had already mobilized XAF 22 billion of counterpart funding. He also explained that 'the reason for this suspension is that Cameroon did not settle some of its debts towards China on time, so, it is in a cross-default situation.’

Additional details

1. The Chinese project title is 雅温得-杜阿拉高速公路建设项目一期. The French project title is Construction de l’autoroute Yaoundé-Douala - 1ère phase. 2. The loan agreement can be accessed in its entirety via SourceID#67872 or 3. The project ID number for this transaction in Cameroon's Development Assistance Database (DAD) is CAM/000814.

Number of official sources


Number of total sources


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Direct receiving agencies [Type]

Cameroon Ministry of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development (MINEPAT) [Government Agency]

Implementing agencies [Type]

China First Highway Engineering Company (CFHEC) [State-owned Company]

Cameroon Ministry of Public Works [Government Agency]

Loan Details


20 years

Interest rate


Grace period

7 years

Grant element (OECD Grant-Equiv)


Bilateral loan

Export buyer's credit

Investment project loan

Preferential Buyer's Credit