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Menchum Hydroelectricity Project Finally Feasible 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr — After years of sidelining Cameroon’s opposition-inclined Anglophone fragment in development projects by the Yaoundé regime, things appear set for change.  Tediously protracted promises of the construction of a hydroelectricity facility in the North West region may mature in the years ahead.

Menchum falls

The government and the Anglo-American energy contractor Joule Africa have concluded an agreement for the construction of a 450 MW hydroelectricity plant on the River Katsina-Ala in Menchum Division.  It is located northeast of the regional capital Bamenda and close to the border with Nigeria.

“We’re looking at building a dam in the Kpep region up in the North West and we hope the dam should produce an installed capacity of approximately 450MW which would represent a 40 percent increase in the overall electricity output for Cameroon,” Greg Newman, Joule Africa’s American Managing Partner explained after the convention signing in Yaoundé on Friday, March 9.

Cameroon’s currently installed electricity capacity stands at 1033 MW.  Amid rising demand from a galloping population and investors, experts project the country will need 3GW of additional energy by 2020.  And so the memorandum of understanding reached between the government and Joule Africa is considered a major leap in the right direction, despite years of unexplained hesitation.

The construction works will span a period of four years following the completion of feasibility studies that will last 24 months.  However, no timeframe has been announced for the start of the studies, though the government says it has taken steps to fast-track the project, and hence the choice of partners.

“The involvement of the private sector is key to building the necessary infrastructure and the realizing the development goals the country has set.  Choosing to work with Joule Africa further demonstrates the commitment of the government to mobilizing international investment for the development of Cameroon,” Basile Atangana Kouna, Water and Energy Minister said in a press release.  

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