Most civil engineering feats are the product of unrelenting will. They bear witness to social cohesion and lay the groundwork for future prosperity. Whether it is a large-scale regulating dam or a deepwater seaport, Cameroon is unveiling a series of infrastructure projects that will give the country a complete makeover. It is a first step in the country’s move toward middle-income status by 2035.
The large-scale projects unveiled by the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) in 2010 confirm the country’s high economic potential. Despite its untapped resources, Cameroon is relatively unknown beyond the sub-region. Inadequate distribution networks, irregular power and poor road conditions stand in the way of foreign investment. Building essential infrastructure is thus seen as a way to fast-track development.
|‘WE HAVE MANY PROJECTS ON THE WAY, INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE KRIBI GAS POWERED POWER PLANT AND ITS DEEPWATER SEAPORT. THESE AND MANY OTHER PROJECTS WILL BOOST TRADE AND INTERIOR DEMAND AND CONSUMPTION’|
ESSIMI MENYE, Minister of Finance
“We want to portray our achievements and exist as a modern country that has found a formula to make changes that benefit its population,” says Minister of Finance Essimi Menye.
The grand projects were announced in 2010 and several are already under way, thanks to funds mobilised by the Ministry of Finance. They are being carried out in several sectors, including energy, transportation, mining, telecommunications and roads. For Mr Menye, capitalising on these assets is the key to success.
“We have many projects on the way, including the construction of a deepwater seaport at Kribi, as well as a gas-powered electricity plant. We have also moved forward on major hydroelectric projects. At the same time, we are improving on the transportation network by building new roads. All these projects will boost trade and domestic consumption,” says Mr Menye.
The rehabilitation of trade corridors with Bangui (Central African Republic) and N’Djamena (Chad) will put the seaport of Douala at the centre of regional trade. However, seaport construction at Kribi and Limbe has captured the imagination of policymakers due to their catalyst effect. In April 2011, the future layout of the port of Kribi was finally approved in Yaounde. The future port of Kribi will serve the needs of the aluminium industry, as well as those of the mining sector, oil and gas,and containerised trade. In addition, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant will be added in 2016 to help absorb the country’s energy deficit.
“We have also signed the financial agreement with China’s Eximbank for Kribi. It is valued at CFA 207.2 billion (£277.2 million). In terms of progress, earthworks are 75 per cent complete and the next delivery date is scheduled for December 2011. The company in charge of initial construction is already onsite,” says Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development Louis-Paul Motaze.
Meanwhile, a new national airline, Camair-Co, took to the skies in March. Based in Douala, the flag carrier expands Cameroon’s air connectivity with direct flights to eight Central and West African nations, as well as Paris, France.