Officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring Republic of Congo have signed an agreement to build a bridge across the river that separates the cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville, reports Bloomberg news agency.

Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo while Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo and they sit just five miles (8 km) away from each other, on either side of the Congo river.

Previously the only way across the river was on “rusting” ferries, “flimsy” speed boats or a five-minute flight which goes twice a week, according to the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

Bloomberg says the project is estimated to cost $550m (£418m).

The route will be just shy of one mile (1,575-metres), Republic of Congo Spatial Planning Minister Jean-Jacques Bouya is quoted as saying.

River Congo is the world’s second-largest river. It has a benign climate and rich soil that make it fertile, beneath the soil, abundant deposits of copper, gold, diamonds, cobalt, uranium, coltan and oil are just some of the minerals.

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