Great construction sites take shape
(Business in Cameroon) - Abandoned during the years of structural adjustment and recession, the policy of major work is back. It has as main objective to modernize the economic environment to make it more competitive. Review.
Abandoned during the years of structural adjustment and recession, the policy of major work is back. It has as main objective to modernize the economic environment to make it more competitive. Review.
"Our country needs more roads, bridges, dams, ports, telecommunications, communication means by rail, air, (...). We will tackle them," announced Paul Biya on November 4th, 2004 at his oath for his second term of seven years as a president of Cameroon. Certainly, this policy of public works has been slow in taking shape, but in recent months we see the cranes reappearing.
Although the scale of the delay doesn't allow to easily assessing progress, the infrastructures are being modernized without question. In the two main cities, nearly 300 billion FCFA have been invested to rehabilitate roads and to improve the sustainability of some community social facilities.
The new look of Douala and Yaoundé, impress us with brand new avenues, passages and parks that feel like they found their green, fresh look. This radiant look of large cities, which toileting continues to blow billions, restores the general appearance by the upgrading of the infrastructure.
Priority to energy
In terms of energy supply, the main priority of the government to restore the economy's attractiveness to capital expenditure, three major thermal power projects have been launched. The thermal power plant of Limbe, Yassa (62 billion), and construction of the Kribi gas plant, provides a boost of 400MW, to bring the domestic energy production to just over 1,000 MW. This is just sufficient to reduce the energy deficit; the saturation of demand still waits the commissioning of hydro projects.
Three major hydroelectric projects are ongoing, headed by the dam reservoir of Lom Pangar, with a useful capacity of 6 billion m³, which will allow the regularization of the Sanaga River during low flow and ensure continuous production on the existing hydropower plants (Song Loulou, Edéa), or those yet to be built downstream the river (Nachtigal, etc.). Thanks to 32 billion FCFA provided by the state budget, the work anticipated for the construction of the dam at Lom Pangar and its 30MW plant, have already started and the first hit of the pickaxe has been announced for this second quarter, at which time the donors will unlock the 160 billion FCFA announced.
It will follow the Nachtigal dams (280 MW) at Song Mbengé (900 MW), Memve'ele (201 MW), Mekim (10 MW), Colomines (12 MW) and Warak (75 MW) and Mekom of Memev'ele. The total energy program thus primed will cost 5.853 trillion FCFA for the next decade.
Port in deep waters
The other major project, whose construction is being launched, is the deepwater port of Kribi, costing nearly 300 billion FCFA, capable of accommodating ships of 100,000 tons and, according to the Minister of Economy, Louis Paul Motazé, "aims to play a catalytic role in accelerating growth in Cameroon, in particular, aims to develop Cameroon through the exploitation of mineral resources such as bauxite, iron, cobalt , nickel, etc.; of the constant need for Cameroon to have a deepwater port, thus overcoming the limits of its existing port facilities to accommodate larger vessels; to have a port which is a real platform that allows transfer and redistribution of goods on the African West coast to boost sub-regional integration through the opening of a corridor and development between Kribi (Cameroon) - Bangui (CAR) - Kisangani (DRC), and some belts to the other CEMAC countries (Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo)."
The construction of this port, with a cost of 282 billion, will exceed the limits of the Douala port, whose capacity is limited to vessels of 15.000 tons and 6-7 meters of deep river and which channels must constantly be dredged. The port complex of Kribi with four terminals and industrial zones and tourist zones as well, will be able to accommodate ships of 100.000 tons.
Regarding the construction of the second bridge over the Wouri, eagerly awaited by the business community to relieve congestion in and around the commercial capital, towards the new industrial zone, the government allocated this year 10.6 billion FCFA for the completion of studies and speed up to start working without waiting for the lengthy procedures of donors.
In the water sector, an investment program of 300 billion is already running, which began with the construction of a water production plant with a capacity of 50,000 m³/ day, and the realization of various other treatment facilities or pipeline who carried the production capacity and distribution of drinking water in the economic capital from 115,000 m³/ day in 2007 to 365,000 m³ per day.
The project of the digital dorsal launched in December 2009 in partnership with China is to deploy a network extension of the optical fiber over a length of 3200 km across the entire country. The main objective is providing the infrastructure for Cameroon to improve the penetration of ICT in rural or remote areas of Cameroon.
François Bambou, Yaoundé