(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute reported last November 25 that maintenance works were performed on 810 km of roads in the country this year (378 km of asphalt road and 432 km of dirt roads).
Compared to the total length of roads in the country, which the Ministry of Public Works (Mintp) estimates at 121,884.7 km at the end of 2021, the state only worked on 0.6% of its roads over the period. According to officials in the Ministry of Public Works, road maintenance generally receives a small budget allocation in Cameroon. For 2022, for example, Mintp estimated that CFA800 billion were needed to ensure optimal road maintenance in the country. However, despite the CFA41.4 billion approved -which was normally sufficient for 13.8% of the national network- less than 1% of the national network was maintained, the Prime Minister said.
On August 22, 2022, during a meeting chaired by Minister Nganou Djoumessi, the department’s Director General of Technical Studies, Donnat Takuete, revealed that the 2023 road maintenance program is based on a provisional budget of CFA39.8 billion. An authorized source pointed out that in addition to the carry-over of uncommitted resources in 2021 the final amount should not be far from the CFA41.4 billion for 2022.
Lack of financial resources
"The linear road network has increased from 55,000 km in 2010 to 121,873.93 km in 2021 (finally updated to 121,884.7 km, ed), up 121%. However, maintenance resources were not raised equally,” Minister Nganou Djoumessi said on December 1, 2021, before the Finance Committee of the National Assembly while presenting the 2022 budget. He stressed that “more than half (51.14%) of the country’s road network is in poor condition. The remaining 48.86% is in good or average traffic condition.”
To remedy this situation, the government intends to implement a new strategy to ensure the sustainability of dirt roads, which constitute more than 93% of the national road network. Overall, we learn, this strategy aims to improve the bearing capacity of the available loose material that made up the wearing course of these roads, limit the impact of traffic by controlling and monitoring the movement of heavy vehicles, control and limit the influence of weather conditions on the road, etc.
Actions to be deployed under this strategy "must be accompanied by governance measures that are of a greater priority in the execution of work, by strict compliance with the specifications established beforehand; and densification of the monitoring of the network and emergency interventions. According to the officials of this department, the feedback obtained after the first years of implementation of the strategy will lead to the development of a "technical guide for dirt road maintenance by ecological zone based on the technical specifics, the problems encountered, the optimal solutions and the implementation protocol.
Brice R. Mbodiam