Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the Chinese vice foreign minister, Zhai Jun, launched the extension project of Nouakchott Port on Friday.
The project, or better known as Port of Friendship (PANPA), is being built by a Chinese state company and financed by the Chinese government. It is expected to complete in 36 months.
The funding is within the framework of a preferential loan of 2 billion Chinese yuan (about 295 million U. S. dollars) through the Export-Import Bank of China .The loan is refundable in 20 years, including five years of grace period, with only an interest rate of 2 percent
The project includes a petroleum berth, a water break point and a five-km dyke along the port to protect the infrastructure. The project is also expected to bring about a boom in the port region, including new buildings and equipment.
PANPA is the second biggest Chinese-funded project in Africa, after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway built decades ago by the Chinese workers in support of African countries for freedom.
Chinese Ambassador to Mauritania Zhang Xun said the port, initially constructed between 1979 and 1986, serves as "a flagship of the cooperation between Mauritania and China." It is of great significance that the extension project coincides with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, according to the diplomat.
Mauritania is the last leg in Zhai's African tour in search for the enhancement of friendship and cooperation between China and African countries. The Chinese vice foreign minister arrived in Nouakchott on Wednesday after visiting South Africa, Lesotho, Guinea- Bissau and Cape Verde.