The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of $192 million to complement Cameroon’s ongoing and planned transport investments.
The Transport Sector Development project is the first IBRD operation for Cameroon since 1992. Cameroon became a blend country in 2014 and as such has access to the concessional financing window of the World Bank (IDA) as well as to IBRD financing. Hence, Cameroon has access to more resources and additional services such as hedging products, client advisory services and credit enhancement which is needed to ensure its development objective as stated in its growth and employment strategy paper.
The Transport Sector Development project will help strengthen transport planning, improve transport efficiency and safety on the Babadjou-Bamenda section of the Yaoundé-Bamenda transport corridor, and enhance safety and security at selected international airports.
“The overall poor condition of the road network, combined with high transport and logistics costs, reduces the economic benefits that Cameroon should derive from being a key transport hub for Central Africa. It is important for us to support the country’s effort in the planning and implementation of a multimodal transport investment strategy,” says Elisabeth Huybens, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon.
Through this project, the Bank is also helping the Cameroon in preparing a medium term Transport Priority Investment Program. It is a programmatic planning tool that will be designed to help the country in mobilizing, among other things, budgetary resources for targeted transport investments in the transport sector.
The project will benefit the users of the Yaoundé-Bafoussam-Bamenda corridor, including the populations of Cameroon’s four largest cities of Douala, Yaoundé, Bamenda and Bafoussam. Smaller towns, villages and rural settlements along the road section will also benefit directly from the complementary secondary roads and social infrastructure that will be financed by the proposed project.
The project will also support activities to ensure that Cameroon’s key international airports meet ICAO’s safety and security standards. This should improve international air services to/from Cameroon with positive impacts on the tradable sectors of the economy and on tourism.
“The current state of the road along the Yaoundé-Bafoussam-Bamenda corridor is one of the key causes of under development in the region, where poverty has stagnated between 2001 and 2014. It is therefore important for us to help the country, through the rehabilitation and development of its transport infrastructure, thereby boosting its trade and tourism in the region which will also help create jobs,” says Peter Taniform, Senior Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.
With regard to road investments, the project is complementing the $220 million in funding that the AfDB and the BDEAC are providing to the country to rehabilitate a key section, Yaoundé-Bafoussam of about 241.20 km, of the Yaoundé-Bafoussam-Bamenda transport corridor.
The first component of the Transport Sector Development project will strengthen the capacity of the public sector in the planning, development, management and maintenance of transport infrastructure. The second component is expected to help reduce travel time between Babadjou and Bamenda by improving physical and safety conditions on the most degraded section of the priority road corridor linking the capital city of Yaoundé to Bamenda. The third component will focus primarily on facilitating ICAO’s effective implementation rating of Aerodrome and Ground Assistance at the airports of Yaoundé, Douala, Garoua and Maroua, as well as the ICAO’s rating of Cameroon’s security oversight system. The last component will finance technical assistance, equipment, training and operating costs.