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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Yaounde and Douala, the two biggest towns of Cameroon are facing their worst water shortage ever. Pipe borne water has not flowed in some neighbourhoods for 6 months. The water shortage that has been affecting mostly areas on the fringes of the towns is now more widespread touching the heart of the administrative and economic chief towns.
In Yaounde over the past week, government has been rationing water, in an attempt to ensure an even distribution of the available water. Some neighbourhoods get a trickle of water twice every week, and often late at night.
Another stop gap measure is a daily distribution of water free of charge by water tanks of the police, fire brigade, and city council, to some of the worst-hit areas.
City-dwellers queue up day and night at streams, in most of the valleys of Yaounde to fetch water for drinking and home use. In other parts of town they queue up behind water distribution trucks, while some individuals have been re-selling water at more than twice the cost to desperate persons in need. A 20 litre jug of water can be sold at 100CFAF.
Statistics from Cameroon’s Water and Energy ministry indicate that only 30% of Cameroon’s 18.millions people have access to potable water.
According to Joseph Kenmogne, chief of Division for distribution of the Company in charge of the production and distribution of water in the country, la Camerounaise des Eaux, (CDE), the city of Yaoundé requires a daily water supply of 160.000cubic meters. But the Nkomnyala treatment station (which supplies the town), produces only 100.000cubic meters of water.
“This shortfall is not only explained by the fact for the past twenty years, no investments had been carried out in the water sector in Cameroon, but also by the fact that existing infrastructure had been abandoned”.
Cameroon’s Water and Energy minister, Michael Ngangko Tomdio explained Friday in a news conference that these setbacks came as a result of the economic crisis that hit the country in the 1980s. He said “the economic structural re-adjustment plans enforced upon Cameroon by the Bretton Woods institutions to achieve the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative, prevented the government of Cameroon from making any investments in the water sector for the past 20 years”.”

The forecasts
The Cameroon government now plans to step up national access to potable water from 29% to 60% by 2025. On Thursday January 21, 2010; the Cameroon government signed two conventions: one with the French Development agency, the other with the European Development Bank worth a total of 65billions CFAF ($130millions).
The money will be used to improve water supply to five townships in Cameroon: Yaounde, Douala, Bertoua, Ngaoundere and Edea.
According to the Director-General of the Cameroon Water Utilities (the state owned company that has to scout for finances), Basil Atangana Kouna, the fresh investments will take up supply in Douala from 105000 cubic metres per day to 280000cc/day; in Yaoundé from 100000ccm/day to 250000ccm/day; in Edea from 2000ccm/day to 5000ccm/day; in Bertoua from 2000ccm/day to 5000ccm/day and in Ngaoundere from 6000ccm/day to 12000ccm/day.
Mr. Atangana Kouna also reveals that CAMWATER has elaborated a 10-year investment programme worth over 400billions FCFA (approx. $800millions). Of this amount, 250billions FCFA (US$500.000.000)
Work begins in 10 localities in 2010.
Cameroon’s minister of Water and Energy, Michael Tomdio told the press that current efforts fall in line with the much trumped up ‘greater ambitions’ development program enunciated by Cameroon’s president Paul Biya.


  1. Hi everyone,
    First of all, Very interesting article Fonka. Good job and please update it more often for your readers.
    Cameroon doesn't cease to amaze me! Why did we get into the Structural readjustment scam in the first place if at the end of it all, we still have to go back to the BNP Paribas, World Bank etc to take loans to invest in the same infrastructure which they said we should not invest in for the purpose of Fiscal discipline and readjustment? It's unfortunate that we got into that scam at the expense of the people. Then again, if Paul Biya and the technocrats who are supposed to advice him on such matters knew what they were doing, there wouldn't have been an economic crisis in the 90's to begin with.
    Civil service salaries were slashed by 70%; Employment was frozen; No infrastructural investment etc. Basically, the government was a shell under this program. We currently have a total of 170.000 Cameroonians working in the public service.Out of 20million Cameroonians, with about 40% of those in working age bracket. How exactly does that add up? I must add that the least the gov't could do was to improve legislation to encourage PRIVATE enterprise be the driving force for progress. However that has not happened. So, one wonders, what have we achieved in the past 20years since the economic crisis, and the structural readjustment scam?
    What we now have are the effects of going ahead with an ill-adviced program that has NOT succeeded in any African nation,notably stagnanted infrastructure&poverty.
    We need to formulate our own fiscal policy. I believe we have technocrats with the expertise to achieve that; financial goliaths out there in the diaspora with the knowledge to put in place measures to kick start our economy at all levels.
    Wake up Cameroon!!

  2. But the fun is that despite the terrible failure of the current Cameroon government to deliver basic services to Cameroonians, most elites will use the fact that the fire fighting brigade is supplying water to send motions of us to the president on behalf of the population. That is what i don't yet understand in Cameroon,and it is done by supposed intellectuals.

  3. @Agendia,
    It's called politics of the stomach... With imaginary motions of support from our so-called elite, they hope they will be recognised by Etoudi and their names placed in line for the next Ministerial job.
    This is why we need the media to really make the truth known to all who care to listen. That there are only motions of support from a few psycho- and sociophants and not the general population. Who in their right minds support this government??
    Intellect I have come to learn also includes 'common sense' and not only read knowledge...