Cameroon: Building Roads in Crisis Zones - Kenya Takes Lessons From Cameroon

The Ministry of Public Works hosted a delegation from Kenya from May 13 to 16.

Julius Korir, Principal Secretary of Kenya's State Department of Infrastructure in the country's Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development has led a delegation of engineers, military and government officials to Cameroon. They were in Cameroon from May 13 to 16 to learn how to build roads in underdeveloped zones under risks of terror attacks. The team was hosted by the Ministry of Public Works and the case study was the World Bank-funded Mora-Dabanga road being constructed by the Military Engineering Corps.

Julius Korir, in an evaluation meeting chaired by Minister Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi in Yaounde on May 16, said their visit in Cameroon was aimed at enabling the Kenyan Government to effectively and efficiently build a World Bank-funded 740km road. "The Mora-Dabanga road project has similarities with the one we want to build in Kenya. Our road will pass through regions that had been neglected by the central government. One of the counties is often targeted by Al Shabaab terrorists from Somalia just like Cameroon's Far North region is targeted by Boko Haram terrorist from Nigeria," he said.

Mohamud Ali, Governor of Marsabit County, one of the regions through which the road is going to pass, appreciated the government of Cameroon for being open and promoting fruitful south-south cooperation. Like other speakers in the Kenyan delegation among who were officials of the World Bank country office in Nairobi, he noted that they have acquired knowledge on how to handle security issues as well as environmental and social aspects when building roads in a crisis zone. He hailed the Inspectors General of the Ministry of Public Works and Colonel Jackson Kamgain, of the Military Engineering Corps for their "enriching" presentations made during working sessions they held in the course of the visit.

Cameroon's Minister of Public Works on his part noted that his staff equally learned from their guests. He pointed out key points like recent reforms that brought the Kenyan transport sector a breakthrough. The sector is currently divided into separate departments for highways, urban and rural roads. The reforms also led to the creation of the Kenyan Road Fund which is currently the largest in Africa with an annual budget of 600 million US dollars. Minister Nganou Djoumessi noted that financing is a great challenge for road building and thanked his guests for inviting him for a return visit to Kenya.

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