FCFA 22 Billion to Finance Mékin Hydro Electric Project

The governments of Cameroon and China yesterday signed a loan agreement to that effect. The government of China, through Exim Bank of China, has made available FCFA 21.9 billion for the execution of the Mékin hydro electric project in the Dja and Lobo Division of the South Region of Cameroon. The loan agreement was signed yesterday at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT). Louis Paul Motaze, MINEPAT boss, signed for Cameroon while the Chinese Ambassador to Cameroon, Huang Changquing, signed for his country. The project consists in building a dam on river Dja and Mékin capable of holding 940 million cubic metres of water, a 12-megawatt

hydro electric thermal plant and a high tension evacuation line of 63 kilowatts on 40 kilometres. The objectives of the project are to supply the entire Dja and Lobo Division with hydroelectricity, boost the development of fishing as well as promote ecotourism through the Dja wildlife reserve. Speaking during the contract-signing ceremony, Mr Motaze said the loan is fruit of cordial Sino-Cameroon ties which stretched to several development domains of the economy. He cited notably the national optical fibre backbone whose foundation stone was laid late last year in Kye-Ossi, the supply of potable water to the cities of Yaounde and Douala and the imminent construction of ultra-modern stadiums in Limbe and Bafoussam. The project, the minister said, is of utmost importance to the socio-economic development of Cameroon as it would not only step up power supply in the region but will equally engender the setting up of electricity-depended industries or activities which will create jobs and reduce unemployment. According to Mr Huang Changquing, Cameroon has enormous energy potentials but faces deficits due to under exploitation of the potentials. Reason why, he said, the government of China, faithful to its policy of supporting development, could not be indifferent to the difficulties faced by Cameroonians as a result of inadequate energy supply. The FCFA 21.905, officials said, represent 85 per cent of the total cost of the project whose execution is expected to last 36 months beginning 2010 after an environmental certificate would have been obtained. The government of Cameroon will provide FCFA 5, 476, 250,000 in three years while the loan from Exim Bank will be paid in 20 years with four years of grace at two per cent interest rate. Yesterday??s ceremony was attended among others by the Ministers of Water and Energy Resources, Michael Ngako Tomdio, Public Works, Bernard Messengue Avom and that of the Environment and Nature Protection, Pierre Hele.

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