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Water and Energy: Vital Components For Economic Development

Government’s development places the sector in a premium position on its development agenda not only to attain economic emergence but also to improve on the living conditions of its citizens.

Water and energy are very vital utilities not only for human wellbeing but also for economic development. This explains why the government of Cameroon has been upbeat in providing these utilities even though the desired quantity and quality in Cameroon’s cities and rural communities are still to be attained. The paucity of these important utilities can be deduced from the available statistics which indicate that only 28.5 per cent of the population has access to electricity in Cameroon, with less than 10 per cent of the rural areas covered. Similarly, potable water supply in the country is a major call for concern as towns expand rendering water infrastructure insufficient for the increasing population. For example, the capital city Yaounde gets just between 100,000 to 110,000 cubic metres of water per day whereas the demand is estimated at 250,000 cubic metres per day. Conscious of the precarious situation, the government has been relentless in providing these utilities as evidenced by several projects either completed or ongoing. Its Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, whose implementation has just been concluded made provision for the construction and or renovation of water and energy production infrastructure. The Strategy paper enlisted several projects some of which have been executed or are still being carried out. Amongst them is the Lom Pangar hydro-electric dam, 75MW Bini a Warak in the Adamawa Region, Natchigal hydroelectric dam and the construction of some 250 boreholes in the North and Far North Regions just to mention but these. All of these are projects intended to lift Cameroon into an emergent economy by 2035. If Cameroon has to attain the level of an emergent nation by 2035, then the water and energy sector must not be neglected. Energy and water serve as an engine for industrialisation. “In line with the Industrialization Master Plan (IMP), the development of the industries and services sector shall lay emphasis on the energy industry, the objective being to produce energy in abundant quantity to cover domestic needs, but also exporting to neighbouring countries,” the government blueprint on development reads. In the new National Development Strategy for 2020-2030 which was recently validated, energy production infrastructure has been given the pride of place. “We should continue to develop our hydroelectric potential, for domestic consumption needs and also in an industrial sense of export in accordance with the IDP .We should be able to increase our installed electricity production capacity to 5000 MW by 2030,” Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) told a cabinet.

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