Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Cameroon: Investing in secondary cities

04 August 2023

 

Cameroon understands the importance of transport support infrastructure: to support economic development, allow people access work and livelihoods, and to keep goods and people moving - especially in secondary cities.

 

Obala is a thriving municipality on the outskirts of Yaoundé in Cameroon’s Central province. Identifying the need for a renewal of the transport support infrastructure, the council presented a proposal to the Cameroonian administration in charge of local development - FEICOM - and its Programme of Decentralisation Support to Medium Size Cities (PDFVM), which is supported with funds from the German Government. The project was accepted and the council worked jointly with FEICOM and the community to move from concept, through implementation planning, to completion and delivery of the much needed municipal infrastructure.  

Outputs benefitting Obala

Construction of the motor park was begun in 2020, and completed in 2021, and now provides the council with two loading bays; 18 parking spaces for small vehicles; a main building, comprising a restaurant; six shops and an administrative office; a toilet block; two motorbike parking areas; a front parking lot and a borehole and water tank. The direct beneficiaries of the motor park include transporters (more than 400), loaders, traders, craftpersons and other users (in excess of 5,000). The expected annual income expected is around 43,000,000 CFA (65,648.00 EUR) which will allow the council to both cover the maintenance of the space, as well as ensure a wider programme of work.

National institution and integral partner

The FEICOM, the Special Equipment and Inter-communal Intervention Fund, was an integral partner in moving this project from concept to completion. FEICOM is a national institution which has as its mandate to support the equitable development of local government areas across Cameroon. It centralises the 'Centimes additional' that are due to local government from national tax collection and redistributes these to support local government development projects. In addition, it mobilises project and investment funding for local government lead projects. In the case of Obala, FEICOM worked with the council administration to design a project which would both meet the needs of the local transport sector, as well as increase the revenue generated by the municipality.

Support across Cameroon

Projects of the kind, seen in Obala, are supported by the FEICOM across Cameroon. In addition to distributing the equalisation fund, the FEICOM works with development partners to manage investment projects for local government. These can be based on a grant or loan methodology and, in the case of loans, FEICOM works with the partner council to structure the loan and ensure the council has a viable repayment plan, de-risking the investment for investors. The FEICOM also makes available technical expertise not readily available at council level, with architects, engineers and project managers. Working to support projects focused on: basic service provision, social services, local economic development, own-source revenue generations, and support to decentralisation. It is a key institution in Cameroon working to ensure the equitable development of the country’s different regions and local governments, as the project in Obala so clearly demonstrates.

 

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