(Business in Cameroon) - Have you heard of the Blue Line? Well, it is certainly the biggest railway infrastructure project ever undertaken in Africa, and which aims, with time, to construct a rail loop 2600 Km long linking five countries in West Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Togo). In command of this gigantic project is the Bolloré Group who, from the start of works in 2014, introduced a Cameroonian by name of Jean Joseph Aouda in the field.
Appointed in August of that year to the position of manager of railway works as part of the West African railway loop construction, with an estimated cost of FCfa 1600 billion, the equivalent of the Cameroonian investment budget for the year 2017; this Cameroonian engineer had, up until April 2016, supervised the work done by a work team of about 1000 employees on a daily basis.
With this expertise, Jean Joseph Aouda then joined the audit and engineering consulting firm (Bureau d’Études, d’Audit, et de Conseils Pluridisciplinaires - BEACOP) launched in 2014, in which he ended up taking 70% of the equity. Even if BEACOP provides services in areas such as civil engineering, financial engineering or also management, its speciality is in being one of the rare companies on the local or even African level to have launched itself in railway engineering, a domain largely dominated by foreign entities, on a continent in which railway projects abound.
However, Jean Joseph Aouda maintains, taking into account local realities, national citizens are most appropriate "when it is a question of implementing sustainable infrastructure solutions adapted to African realities". A point of view shared by a number of railway project promoters on the continent, who have already relied on BEACOP. Among the achievements of this consulting firm in Africa, Jean Joseph Aouda proudly cites technical assistance and skills transfer via learning by doing, as part of the West African railway loop construction; supervision of construction work of the new railway line between Lomé and Tsévié (35 Km) in Togo.
In Cameroon, CAMRAIL, the railway operator, has not remained indifferent to the expertise of BEACOP. Indeed, we learn from authorised sources, the Cameroonian railway carrier has successively assigned to the firm led by Jean Joseph Aouda, the contract for the diagnostic project of 700 hydraulic structures located on the railway line between Kumba (South-West) and Ngaoundéré (Adamawa); as well as feasibility studies on construction projects of the railway sections Douala (Littoral)-Limbé (South-West) and Edéa (Littoral)-Kribi (South).
Brice R Mbodiam