WASHINGTON, May 27, 2014 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved an US$ 71 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to help Cameroon increase international and regional trade, create jobs and reduce the isolation of poor communities in the country’s northern regions by supporting road and railway improvements along Douala–N’Djamena corridor. The Government will contribute US$20 million of the US$ 91 million total transportation project costs.
The new IDA credit supports the Cameroon Multimodal Transport Project, an effort to improve travel times and safety, and to reduce the cost of transporting goods and people. Cameroon’s road networks connect Chad and the Central African Republic—Cameroon’s two land-locked neighboring countries—to the Port of Douala and the Douala – Ngaoundere railway line. These transport routes help to facilitate trade, increase incomes and provide jobs to poor residents throughout the region.
“Cameroon’s Douala–N’Djamena road corridor supports the backbone of Central Africa’s transport infrastructure and is a key development priority of the World Bank said Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon. “In the long term, the project will increase people’s access to schools, clinics and markets, as well as facilitate trade expansion for imports and exports for local economies.”
The road and rail works will directly benefit the roughly 3.5 million residents of Cameroon’s Far North region, (or about 20 percent of the country’s population) including the cities of Maroua, Mora, and Kousseri. The project will rehabilitate the last severely degraded road section (Maroua-Mora, 60 km) of the transport corridor connecting Douala to N’Djamena, Chad’s capital and largest city, and also support during 5 years a performance based road maintenance programme of a 270-km road section between Maroua and Kousseri which is part of the same corridor. The project’s ultimate goal is to establish good travel conditions along 90 percent of the 1,842 km-long Douala–N’Djamena corridor.
“Today’s project will create all season transport – by rail or road – for goods and passengers, especially youth and women, to the Northern regions of Cameroon which are among the poorest regions in the Country, while also facilitating transport and transit between the Port of Douala and the landlocked country of Chad c,” said Peter Ngwa Taniform World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.
Since 1999 passenger rail traffic in Cameroon has grown by 70 percent, with 1.45 million passengers in 2012, and freight traffic by 50 percent (1.62 million tons in 2012). The rail upgrades, including the installation of signaling equipment for the line between Yaounde and Ngaoundere, the rehabilitation of metal railway bridges, and new warning systems and safety lights, will increase the railway capacity and reliability, reduce the number of accidents at railroad crossings and ultimately increase transport efficiency.
“The Cameroon Multimodal Transport Project will repair a critical link in the road and rail network that is necessary for improved regional and global economic integration,” said Pierre Graftieaux, World Bank Co-Task Team Leader for this Project. “We look forward to the implementation of today’s far-reaching project that will boost the regional economy and directly improve the livelihood of Far North Cameroon’s 3.5 million, and of Chad’s and Central African Republic’s, mostly poor, residents.”