Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

11 February 2013

Cameroon: Tarring of Kumba-Mamfe Road Begins Soon

All things being equal, the tarring of the hitherto nightmarish Kumba-Mamfe road in the South West Regions will begin in three months from now. The joint signing ceremony of the two loan agreements between the Cameroon government with the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Central African States Development Bank (BDEAC) has been hailed as a historic milestone event by the population of Manyu Division and the South West in general. The Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, the Resident Representative of ADF in Cameroon, Racine Khan, and the Chairman of BDEAC, Michael Adande, all braved the tortuous road and answered present in Mamfe for the tripartite signing of loan agreement.

When completed, the 151-km tarred road will link three Divisions of the South West: Meme, Manyu and Kupe-Muanenguba. It will not only ensure traffic flow between the South West and Littoral regions, but also interconnects the South West, notably the Limbe container port with the Cross Rivers State in Nigeria. Moreover, it will be possible for Nigeria and Cameroon to improve on the quality of trade and ensure interconnection between the ECCAS and ECOWAS zones. These realities did not elude Minister Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi who, in his speech, harped on the socio-economic fall-outs of the project; especially in the creation of direct and indirect employment, opening up of rural areas, easy evacuation of food stuff and boosting the country's economic growth, among others. "Our objective is not to sign documents in front of you, but to build a good road. When the State has decided we have to execute," he told the population.

It should be underscored that this road links up with the Bamenda - Mamfe - Ekok - Enugu corridor at Bachuo Akagbe which is under construction. The total cost of the Kumba - Mamfe road project, with effective take-off of works in the second half of 2013, is approximately FCFA 85.75 billion excluding taxes and customs duties with the following contributions. ADF's concessional loan FCFA 37.37 billion, BDEAC's non-concessional loan FCFA 25 billion, Cameroon government's total contribution would be about FCFA 23.38 billion.

Apart from the immediate objective of the road, auxiliary works have been included in the project notably the construction of five Women's Empowerment Centres, youth multi-purpose centres, construction of 30 drying yards, etc. Cognizant of the heydays ahead, the population of Mamfe through their Mayor, Sessekou Ayuk Takunchung John, hailed President Biya for what they qualified as his "indomitable spirit of making Cameroon an emerging nation." He said poverty will soon find a strong solution with the construction of the road and the population will be "spared the annoying insults of leaving Mamfe to Buea via three different regions."

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