16 November 2018

Cameroon: One Project, Multiple Potential Impacts

During the construction of the dam and upon its completion, the project is going to positively touch on almost all fabrics of national life.

The Nachtigal Hydroelectricity Dam, whose kick off for construction now seems imminent, is one significant project in electricity development in the country. The dam, even before the start of construction works, has already been benefitting locals in the project area. It would generate even more positive impacts during its construction and upon completion. Works to construct the dam on the Sanaga river course at the Nachtigal waterfall are expected to begin this year and end in 2022. The project, which consists of constructing roller compacted concrete dams, a headrace channel, a power plant with seven generating units, a generation substation and a trans mission line, will upon completion generate 420MW of electricity. This is expected to considerably address the country's energy need by 30 per cent.

This will go a long way to respond to demand and help to ensure stability on the north, south and east interconnection grids as well as boost rural electrification. Officials of the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company (NHPC) have disclosed that during the peak construction phase of the project, over 1,500 highly skilled and unskilled jobs will be provided to Cameroonians. The National Employment Fund had already been engaged to this effect. Besides contributing to increase Gross Domestic Product, the Nachtigal Hydroelectricity Dam will generate revenue for the State; as the State is one of the shareholders of the NHPC.

Local commercial banks will also receive dividends from NHPC because they are contributing about 22 per cent of funds for the project. The social benefits too of the project are enormous and cannot be overemphasized. It will help to reduce domestic cost of electricity, ameliorate the quality of services, increase access to electricity, ensure continuity of public service, amongst others.

At the level of the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company, the outfit has been taking serious its corporate social responsibilities to the benefit of the population around the project area. Some 900 locals to be affected by the project will receive support from NHPC in the domain of agriculture. The support package, worth over FCFA 100 million is thanks to an accord signed between the company and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. NHPC will assist affected locals acquire and develop new lands, provide highyielding seeds and improved varieties as well as equip and train them in new farming techniques. Health, sports and cultural packages are also available for the locals.

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