Sunday July 16, 2017 marked another turning point in the Lom-Pangar Hydroelectric Dam project as the construction works for the 30 megawatts power generation plant officially kicked off at the project site in Lom-Pangar in Belabo sub-division of the East Region. The event was of exceptional importance given the presence of the Head of State's special guest, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Dr. Akinwume Ayodeji Adesina, who laid the foundation stone in the presence of Cameroon's Ministers of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Water Resources and Energy and Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Louis Paul Motaze, Basile Atangana Kouna and Dr Tiaga respectively.
In his address at the event that was massively attended by elites, administrative authorities of the Region, parliamentarians and a cross-section of the population including CPDM supporters, the AfDB Group President opened with the biblical quotation "Let there be light". Dr Adesina expressed delight with the gigantic project which he said will not only supply electricity to Belabo but the entire East Region. According to him, about 10 million Cameroonians do not have access to electricity which is a lever for industrialisation. With the enormous electricity resources Cameroon possess, Dr Adesina pledged AfDB's support to light up Cameroon. "AfDB will be implicated in all energy projects in Cameroon," he said citing projects such as the Nachtigal dam, Kribi and Dibamba power plants amongst others which will connect 500,000 households in 2017. He further added that the continental bank will invest some 12 billion dollars in electricity projects for the next five years in Africa where some 645 million people do not have access to electricity.
The Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze presented the potentials of the East Region in the domains of energy, minerals, aquaculture and agriculture which all fall within the five major priorities of the bank. He thus enjoined AfDB to invest in the East region stating that the dam will not only provide electricity but will also boost agriculture and fishing activities and thus contribute in feeding Africa.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources and Energy, Basile Atangana Kouna presented Cameroon's roadmap in the energy sector contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper for 2035. He said FCFA 10,000 billion is needed to realise the earmarked projects in the sector which he opined is a driver to economic growth and the eventual attainment of emergence.
The Deputy Mayor of Belabo, Thierry Angelo Mvodjongo on behalf of population said the laying of foundation stone for the power generation plant which will light up 150 localities is a sign for hope to get out of darkness.
The hydroelectric plant located at the base of Lom-Pangar dam will provide some 30 megawatts of energy to some 150 localities covering about 10,000 households with an estimated beneficiary population of 50,000 people. It will supply electric power to the East Region which is currently being supplied by thermal plant. Power will be transmitted via a 90 KV and 105.120 km long line. The project to last 30 months is financed to the tune of FCFA 39 billion by the African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Central African States. The AfDB, according to its President, will put in FCFA 30 billion. The power generation plant constitutes the second phase of the Lom-Pangar reservoir dam which has a capacity to supply six billion cubic metres of watar to the Sanaga for the Songloulou dam as was presented by the General Manager of Electricity Development Corporation, Theodore Nsangou.