THE CAMEROON government has selected two rival groups to operate its national railways over the next 20 years. Under a tendering process started in 1996, it had been seeking established railway operating concessionaires with local backing to take a majority stake in national railway authority Regifercam. Two main bidders were identified in May, and the government has now reached agreement for them to share the concession.

Formal holder of the concession will be Saga, a subsidiary of the French-owned Bollore group which has a stake in Abidjan-Niger Railway concessionaire Sitarail. However, the government has decided that the railway will actually be operated by Comazar, the Spoornet subsidiary which came second in the bidding process.

Although the terms of the agreement have not been revealed, the government said the two concessionaires would share a 51% stake in Regifercam. Cameroon investors will hold another 34%, leaving the government with a 15% stake. o