Monday, August 2, 2010

Development of road infrastructure is essential for sub regional integration

By NDI Eugene NDI - Members of the Ministerial Committee in charge of monitoring the Central African Master Plan for Transport in the sub region have ended a series of statutory meetings in Yaoundé. The meetings were aimed at taking stock of the implementation of the six years old plan.

The Central African Master Plan for Transport dubbed PDCT-AC was adopted by the Heads of States and governments of the member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) during their meeting in Brazzaville, Congo on January 24, 2004.

During the meeting the Heads of State also agreed on putting in place a follow-up and monitoring committee that will assure the monitoring of the plan with Cameroon’s Minister of Public Works, Bernard Messengue Avom as chairman of the committee.

Meeting in their second conference in Libreville last June 22, 2007 transport and public works ministers of the member countries of ECCAS mandated the Central African Development Bank to organise round table of donors on the financing of priority projects in the sub region. Since then, little has been done by the committee in terms of fund raising towards these projects though more has been done on individual basis regarding the development by individual member countries.

The Yaoundé meeting that was organised to scrutinise the master plan focuses on the raising of funds for the development of road infrastructure that would link the political capitals of the eleven member countries that make up ECCAS.

Given that the development of road infrastructure constitutes one of the major factors in the promotion of sub regional integration within the African countries involved in the program, some 55 road projects have thus been identified by the project and experts were meeting to fine-tune strategies on how to generate funds for the execution of these projects.

Successive speakers at the Yaoundé conference, like the Deputy Secretary General of ECCAS, Roger Tchoungui, the president of the Central African Development Bank, Michael Adande and Cameroon’s Minister of Public Works, Bernard Messengue Avom who doubles as the chair person of the Ministerial committee all underscored the need for political capitals of the region to be linked up by tarred roads.

In the Central African sub region (CEMAC) for instance only Bata, Libreville and Yaoundé are linked with tarred road meanwhile in neighbouring West Africa, almost all of its political capitals are linked up by tarred roads. In order to boost economic activities in the sub region, the development of road infrastructure therefore has to be given a lot of attention given the primordial role it plays in economic development.

The Yaoundé meeting ended with a series of resolutions among which was the decision to mobilise funds for the financing of the 55 road projects identified. The Central African Development Bank was also mandated to organise an investor’s round table next year with the aim of mobilising funds through public-private partnership to raise funds for the project.

At the end of the meeting, our Yaoundé Bureau correspondent, Ndi Eugene Ndi caught up with the Chairman of the ministerial committee, Cameroon’s Minister of Public works and started by asking him to situate the importance of the Yaounde meeting and this is what he had to say “The importance of this meeting is quite obvious… development of the master plan for the construction of road infrastructure in Central Africa has been adopted by the Heads of States of ECCAS… and this meeting is to look for ways and means to ask people to finance…finally construct roads linking the capital cities of the Central African Sub region.

A round table will take place we hope before June next year that is the mandate we have given to the Central African Development Bank. We already have 55 roads that we have identified and the finances that we are looking for is to start with the construction of these roads. You know the development of road infrastructure is essential for sub regional integration”

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