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Cameroon, China Sign Agreements Worth FCFA 215 Billion 

By Yerima Kini Nsom — Cameroon and China have signed four economic and development agreements worth over FCFA 215 billion that will boost water supply, telecommunications, air transport sector and others.

The Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, represented the Government at the signing ceremony at his Ministry on November 11 and the Chinese Ambassador to Cameroon, Wo Ruidi, endorsed the agreement on behalf of his government.

The first agreement provides that China will build more storage and distribution facilities and provide more potable water to nine towns in Cameroon at the cost of FCFA 84.720 billion.
This amount will be used to execute the first phase of the programme in Bamenda, Bafoussam, Kribi and Sangmalima. Another agreement gives China the responsibility of building a national telecommunications emergency network in Cameroon that would ease communication especially during times of disasters.

The project will cost FCFA 91.5 billion. China also has to supply two aircraft (MA60) to Cameroon’s lone carrier, Cameroon Airline Cooperation, CAMAIR-CO, at the cost of FCFA 31.3 billion. The new planes will help the company to ensure the frequency of domestic flights and to cover some countries in the Central African sub-region. The fourth agreement worth FCFA 8 billion borders on economic and technical cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the agreements, Nganou Djoumessi said China’s extension of portable water in nine towns in Cameroon will accelerate Government’s ambition of making safe water available to all citizens. To him, Government is determined to ensure that access to potable water by the population increases from 29 percent to 75 percent by the year 2020. The extension of pipe-borne water, he went on, is needy to towns that have continued to experience population growth.

The Minister lauded China for accepting to install a national telecommunications emergency network in Cameroon. Such a network, the Minister stated, will contribute in the prevention and better management of disasters, thereby ensuring the protection of the local population and their property. He said the two planes from China will help Cameroon’s lone airliner to ensure its frequency in domestic and regional flights.

Equally thanking China for the FCFA 8 billion economic and technical agreement, Nganou Djoumessi said such agreements will accelerate Cameroon’s match towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, MDG and its Vision 2035. The Chinese Ambassador, Wo Ruidi, said the agreements constituted the positive trickle down effects of the healthy bilateral cooperation between Cameroon and China. He said China and Cameroon are mutual strategic partners. The Ambassador refuted press allegations that the Chinese-made aircrafts were a risk because they were technically fragile.

He dismissed such allegations as unfounded, saying the Congolese Government has been using the aircrafts without any problem. He, however, admitted that one aircraft of that kind crashed in Indonesia recently, but stated that the crash was not caused by any technical problem but by an error of the pilot. The Minister of Transport, Robert Nkili, during the ceremony, said the two planes will be brought to Cameroon by the end of the year. He rejoiced that CAMAIR-CO will fly Central Africa and even beyond.

First published in The Post print edition no 01480

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