Under the Bénirail concession agreement, Bolloré will rehabilitate the existing metre-gauge Cotonou – Parakou line, including the rehabilitation of four stations, as well as extend it approximately 574km to Niamey in Niger.

According to Bolloré, the agreement is 'another step forward' in the construction of the West Africa rail loop, which ultimately aims to connect landlocked Niger and Burkina Faso with the coastal countries of Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, and Togo.

"This a key element for the infrastructures of Benin and Niger. Both presidents view it as a priority for their national infrastructure. Never has there been such an important investment in a West African country," says Zinsou.

Bolloré Group owns 40% of Bénirail, while Benin and Niger each hold a 10% stake in the company. The remaining 40% of shares are open to private investors in Benin and Niger.