By Victorine BIY, Cameroon Tribune
The African Development Bank, AfDB established relations with Cameroon in 1972. For over 40 years, Cameroon and the AfDB have enjoyed fruitful bilateral cooperation. Environment, water and sanitation, agriculture and agro-industries, information and Communication Technology, infrastructure, energy and poverty reduction amongst others,are some areas to which the AfDB hold tight to in Cameroon.
International bodies especially the International Monetary Fund have always noted that Cameroon’s infrastructure indicators trail those of regional peers. In spite of a slight improvement in the overall quality of infrastructure, indicators are low by sub-Saharan African standards especially for roads and air transportation. Closing the country’s infrastructure gap is essential to achieve Cameroon’s development objective of attaining emerging market status by 2035. The AfDB, Cameroon’s development partner, seems to have seen this as the missing link; reason why it has joined the country to invest in the sector.
The latest of the AfDB gestures was the approval of FCFA 258 billion for the funding of the 598 km Batschenga-Ntui-Yoko-Tibati-Ngaoundere road. Still as part of measures to improve the transport system of Cameroon, the AfDB decided to loan 73 million USD (about FCFA 44 billion) for the Kumba-Mamfe road in the South West Region. Roads of integration like the Bamenda-Mamfe-Abakaliki-Enugu, the Douala-Bangui and Douala Ndjamena road corridor, linking Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad, the Sangmelima-Djoum-Ouesso under rehabilitation lend credence to the fruitfulness of the country’s bilateral ties with the bank.
The energy sector has equally tapped from the AfDB with the institution standing tall among funding partners for the Lom-Pangar Hydroelectric project in the east of the country. The bank has also joined others to invest in the Dibamba Power Development Company with focus to help build an 86-megawatt power plant that will ensure reliable electricity supply and improve energy security in Cameroon.
Farmers especially those in the North West can better testify to the goodness of cooperation between Cameroon and the AfDB. They are beneficiaries of the Grassfield Rural Infrastructure and Participatory Development Support Project, GP-DERUDEP. AfDB agriculture-oriented projects take credits for the construction of sales points, slaughter houses/slaps and cattle clips/vaccination crushes, rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads amongst many across the country. Cameroon alongside Ghana, Mozambique and Senegal is also beneficiary to the AfDB funded OLAM Africa Investment Programme to deepen integration of OLAM Group’s agricultural value chain investment in processing wheat and palm oil on the continent.
The North West, West, South West and South Regions have benefitted from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, RWSSI of the AfDB.