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Cablegate: Port Authority Claims Chinese Rail Offer Still On

VZCZCXRO1219
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0340 0801226
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211226Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5831
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0062
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000340

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN EWWT EINV ECON PGOV CH CG
SUBJECT: PORT AUTHORITY CLAIMS CHINESE RAIL OFFER STILL ON
TABLE

REF: 06 KINSHASA 1379

1. (SBU) DRC's port authority, ONATRA, claims to be
discussing plans with the Chinese government for
rehabilitation of the Matadi-Kinshasa railroad system.
ONATRA's CEO, Daniel Bikindu, shared these plans with EconOff
and a visiting USTDA representative on March 6.

2. (SBU) During his four-day visit to the DRC, a USTDA
official and EconOff met with ONATRA CEO Bikindu to discuss
potential infrastructure projects. Bikindu said ONATRA has
signed an agreement with the Chinese government to
rehabilitate the 230-mile Matadi line, including plans to
renovate locomotives, wagons, passenger cars, workshops and
the line itself. Bikindu said the contract includes an
option to negotiate a joint-venture management agreement
between the Chinese and ONATRA and that the financing would
be in the form of a USD 235 million loan from the Chinese
Export-Import Bank. According to him, a Canadian consulting
firm has already conducted a feasibility study.

3. (SBU) According to Bikindu, a Chinese commission is
considering the agreement. However, a Belgian diplomat who
works closely with the Ministry of Transport and ONATRA told
EconOff no agreement exists yet and the Congolese and Chinese
governments remain in negotiations.

4. (SBU) Bikindu said ONATRA's plans include consideration of
the development of a deep water port on the Atlantic. He
also said ONATRA is continuing its cargo and passenger river
transport, although it has made only seven round-trips from
Kinshasa to Kisangani since it relaunched service in July
2006. (Note: An ECON Section contact whose company has 60
transport boats on Congolese rivers told us ONATRA made only
one round-trip between Kinshasa and Kisangani, to great
fanfare, in late 2006 and has not made this trip again. End
note.)
MEECE

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