Gabon Special Economic Zone Ports (GSEZ) has secured €305m debt finance from the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) to develop new facilities at Owendo port in the capital Libreville.

Apart from acting as the sole lead arranger, EAIF is lending €40m to GSEZ Ports for over 15 years on a first ranked basis. GSEZ Ports is the first project of EAIF in Gabon.

Additionally, the African Development Bank (AfDB), which headed the structuring of the finance, has also extended €40m in loan.

The new funds will refinance the project, releasing money for the largest shareholder to reinvest in other infrastructure projects in Africa, some in Gabon.

GSEZ Ports has won a concession contract to build and operate the new port for a period of 30 years.

GSEZ deputy general director Théophile Ogandaga said: “The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund immediately saw the strategic economic development potential for Gabon of our new port.

“GSEZ Ports has benefitted from the expertise, experience and skill of EAIF and from the PIDG focus on special enterprise zones. Our state-of-the-art port has been angular and critical for Gabon’s economy during the last two years and this new funding will help us elevate it even further.”

Owendo’s existing port for general cargo had reached maximum capacity. GSEZ Port’s new infrastructure will support four million tonnes of additional capacity, which means doubling the port’s capability. The new infrastructure will enable the port to manage general bulk and liquid cargoes and container traffic.

A new 500m-long main berth has been constructed to accommodate GSEZ Ports. It is twice as long as the original berth. The total length of the berth along with container quay is 800m and has been dredged to a depth of 14m to accommodate larger ships.

EAIF executive director Emilio Cattaneo said: “We are proud to be involved in Gabon’s drive to strengthen its industrial base, build employment and skills and create a more broadly-based economy.

“GSEZ Ports is a powerful example of public and private capital working in partnership to create a development that will benefit Gabon for decades to come.”

GSEZ Ports operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Gabon Special Economic Zone. Its shareholders include Olam International (40.5%), Gabonese Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) owned by the Republic of Gabon (38.5%) and Africa Finance Corporation (21%).