French Antilles and French Guiana - Infrastructure, power, and communications



Infrastructure in the CDF varies according to the type and the specific department. Railways are entirely absent from both Martinique and French Guiana, though Guadeloupe has some private railway lines, all of which are small-gauge and used for commercial purposes. In terms of paved roads, the islands of the French Antilles collectively have about 3,000 kilometers of paved road network (est. 1997), while French Guiana only has 727 kilometers (est. 1995). The lack of roads and railway in the latter are largely explained by the density of the rain-forest, which covers 90 percent of all land. Guadeloupe has a total of 8 airports with permanent surface runways (est. 1997), while French Guiana has 4 airports with paved runways (est. 1999), and Martinique only has 2 (est. 1997). Airlines that operate services to and from the French Antilles include Air France, Air Martinique, Air Caraibes, Air Guadeloupe, and Air Canada.

The French Antilles have ports at Fort-de-France on Martinique, and Basse-Terre and Point-a-Pitre on Guadeloupe. The containerization port on Basse-Terre has a quay length of 250 meters (820 feet) with a depth of water alongside of 10 meters (32.8 feet), while the containerization port on Pointe-a-Pitre, the largest in Guadeloupe, has a considerable capacity of 16 berths and wharves with a total berthing space of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet). French Guiana has ports on Cayenne, Degrad des Cannes, and Saint-Laurent du Maroni (est. 1997).

According to the DFAIT A Guide for Canadian Exporters, telecommunications in the French Antilles are generally inadequate. It can take up to a week, for example, to obtain usage of a fax or telephone in certain places. In Guadeloupe, there were only 159,000 telephones in 1995, while there were 68,900 telephones in Martinique in the same year. With a total of 159,000 main telephone lines in use in 1995 and a population of 172,605 in 2000, the telecommunications system in French Guiana is considerably more developed than in the French Antilles.

Producing all of their electricity domestically through fossil fuels, none of the CDF import electricity from abroad. Total electricity consumption in Guadeloupe was 1.135 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 1998, 588 million kWh in Martinique in 1992, and 430 million kWh in French Guiana in 1998. All of French Guiana's electricity is generated from a single dam at Petit Saut. Both the telecommunications sector and the electricity sector are monopolized by the French government through parastatal control.

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