(Business in Cameroon) - The government of Cameroon has unveiled plans to boost the paved road network in the country. According to official figures from the Ministry of Public Works, only 10,225.58 km of the country's 121,873 km of roads were paved by December 2023. This equates to a paved network rate of only 8.39%.
Of this rate, more than half consists of national roads (5,798.69 km), with 109 km for highways, 1,606.08 km for regional roads, and 2,711.81 km for communal roads, as per government data. “Our nation's road infrastructure has seen continuous improvement over the years, thanks to increased road investments. Just a few years back, we only had a total of 5,000 km of paved roads, but now, we've exceeded the 10,000 km milestone. Despite the progress, there are ongoing challenges, including the maintenance of existing paved roads, the expansion of the paved road network, and ensuring year-round accessibility through dirt roads,” said Minister Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi in an interview published on February 2, 2024, in the state-owned daily Cameroon Tribune. The dirt road network comprises 111,647.42 km, accounting for 91.60% of the total road length in Cameroon. A plan for maintaining dirt roads has also been devised to ensure the continuous satisfactory service of this network without any interruptions.
As part of its National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (SND30), Cameroon aims to pave at least 6,000 km of new roads. According to the Ministry of Public Works, "as of December 31, 2023, about 2,400 km of roads have been paved, achieving 73.46% of the set targets." This means there are still around 3,600 km of new roads to be asphalted to reach the 2030 goal. Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi explained that “in line with SND30, various actions are underway to increase the length of paved roads, aiming for the target of 6,000 km of new paved roads outlined in the strategy. This includes enhancing the service level of existing roads through the maintenance of 3,000 km of roads to be rehabilitated and the ongoing maintenance of the entire road network."
To achieve this, the government is working on reducing the costs of roadworks amid economic challenges, including financial resource constraints. "We are working to establish a bitumen production plant, a crucial component that will help reduce costs and drive construction costs down. We are already implementing innovative techniques, such as road recycling, maintaining dirt roads with stabilizing products and bitumen emulsions to increase the length to be built or maintained with available resources," announced the Ministry of Public Works.
The development of these road infrastructures aims to ensure the connectivity of industrial hubs, supply factories with raw materials (especially from mining sources), facilitate the flow of products to domestic and international markets, and support the transportation of people. This modernization of the road network should ultimately contribute to the SND's ambition of raising the country's average economic growth from over 4% during 2010-2019 to more than 8% during 2020-2030.