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Yaounde (AFP) June 15, 2012
Cameroon's President Paul Biya on Friday launched the official start of work on a Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam expected to become operational by 2017.
The 201-megawatt dam in the southern village of Nyabizan is being built at a cost of 556 million euros ($461 million), funded mainly by the China Exim Bank, while the work is being undertaken by Chinese firm Sinohydro Corporation Ltd.
In a speech broadcast on state television, Biya said the project "is only the beginning" and announced the construction of two additional dams to increase the country's energy supply, which currently does not meet the needs of the west African nation.
Biya said extra power capacity is needed to reduce Cameroon's frequent power cuts, which undermine government functions, health care and the economy.
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