Cameroon: Positive Sign for Effective Take-Off

Nigerians and Cameroonians pray for peace in Cameroon, at Saint Joseph's Anglophone Parish in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, Sept. 6, 2019.

Observably, all is set for a sound take-off of construction works on the Nachtigal Hydroelectricity Dam project. The December 2018 proposed commencement of effective work on the site, all things being equal, could be respected with the pious hope that by 2022, the much-awaited 420 MW could be pumped out of the dam into the national interconnected grid to enhance domestic and industrial functioning. That 30 per cent of the country's energy needs could be met by the dam makes the Nachtigal Hydroelectricity plan a hope-raising structuring project. Paying off or better still, compensating those whose property will be destroyed by the project, as is the case now, speaks of a strong government's desire to at last walk the long-drawn talk of the project. Keen observers of evolution of giant projects in the country are certainly not unaware of delays compensations have caused in their execution. Developments at moment with Nachtigal is a happy denouement and raises hope of celerity in the project execution. From every indication, things are supposed to move faster considering that the area is almost free of densed human habitation. More so, as funding partners have already put their heads together and begun signing agreements to source for the whopping FCFA 786 billion needed to transform the running water into usable resource for clean and cost-effective energy supply. As a matter of fact, Finance Minister, Louis Paul Motaze, on November 8, 2018, signed financial agreements relating to the construction of the Nachtigal upstream hydroelectric dam in Paris, France with a battery of international and national technical and financial partners. Looking at the calibre of international and national partners involved in the project, one goes away with the impression that the Yaounde authorities mean business. For, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank and lead partner of the project's 15 international lenders, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and Société Electricité de France (EDF) likewise local partners like Standard Chartered Bank (SC), Société Générale Cameroun (SGC), Société Commerciale de Banque (SCB) and Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l'Epargne et le Crédit (BICEC), are easily giants. Now that all seems to be on the right track for the project, wishes are that all other components be fully put in place for celerity and efficiency to be guaranteed. Energy needs in the country are growing without a corresponding supply. Statistics show that installed electricity capacity turns around 1,299 megawatts with demand far outweighing production. Objective is to produce about 3,000 MW by 2020. Natchtigal alone would not bridge the demand/supply gap but can at least serve as a good take off point for the "Greater Opportunities" current term of office of President Paul Biya. On

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