On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

Rekindled Hope November 20, 2009

Filed under: Society/Societe — kikenileda @ 10:04 AM

The hand of the clock seems to be turning really fast for energy
development projects in Cameroon ushering in a mad rush for
stakeholders. That, at least, is the impression one has since last week
when over six financial institutions agreed to disburse 80 percent of
the money expected to finance Cameroon’s multi-billion Kribi Thermal
gas plant.

The International Finance Corporation, the Central African
Development Bank (Banque des développement de l’Afrique central
-BDEAC), the European Investment Bank, the London Standard Chartered
Bank, the African Development Bank, and a group of Cameroonian banks
headed by the Cameroon Standard Chartered bank will be disbursing FCFA
150 billion of the CFA 170 billion expected to finance the construction
of the plant, Frédéric Mvondo, Deputy General Manager of the Kribi
Power Development Corporation said. The plant will be built in the
little locality of Mpolongwe, nine kilometers north of the seaside city
of Kribi, comprising 13 generators of 16.6 megawatts each giving a
total of 216 megawatts.

The dust of the good news had hardly settled when government
announced another confab with donor agencies in Yaounde to hasten the
execution of another giant energy supply project, the Lom Pangar
Hydroelectric Dam in the East Region. The meeting which ended with a
blue print financial plan for the project follows the one that took
place in Paris from 18 to 20 March, 2008 during which the project was
presented to donor agencies some of who pledged disbursements amounting
to FCFA 130 billion financing package.

Estimated at FCFA 150.8 billion, the Lom Pangar Hydroelectric
Dam constitutes one of the major projects in the Central African
country to boost energy production. It is located in the eastern region
of the country at the confluence of rivers Lom and Pangar. When
constructed, it will produce a dam measuring 540 kilometers square and
containing 6 billion cubic meters of water that will be injected into
river Sanaga during the dry season to reinforce water supply on the
Edea and Songloulou hydroelectric plants.

The zeal building up around energy projects after an
undesirable prolonged slumber is to say the least, a welcome renewed
ambition spurred by the instructions of the Head of State in his speech
to the Council of Ministers last July. The President was visible irked
by the laxity and inertia that had eaten deep into the fabric of the
administration completely paralyzing the execution of the country’s
major projects. The “lame” excuse as to the lack of financing appears
not to hold water. From the look of things, donor agencies are always
ready to be part of such projects especially those that are capable of
accelerating industrial and other economic activities. The trouble, one
would say, is with the ability to look for such finances. Financial
institutions in the real sense of the word do not look for projects to
finance; rather projects look for financial institutions. Perhaps that
is where the administration concerned with executing energy projects in
the country missed the point.

That notwithstanding, accepting to finance a project is one
thing and disbursing funds is another. In both cases, the Lom Pangar
Hydroelectric Dam and the Kribi Thermal gas plant, donor agencies want
certain things done as precondition for coughing out the money. Money
will be pumped out for the Kribi Thermal gas plant after a decree
authorizing the construction of the plant has been signed, an initial
capital by the major partners set up, and the local population to be
displaced compensated.

In the same vein, the financing of the Lom Pangar project will
depend on the execution of a convincing environmental plan including
the creation of the Deng Deng Park and a social plan for the local
population among others. Government’s renewed ambition of getting these
things together rekindles hope for energy production in the years ahead.


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