Even in its cash-strapped posture, government could not sit down arms-folded to watch the situation compound. With meagre resources, government through the Housing and Urban Development Ministry has started opening up new layouts with minimum acceptable facilities in the city’s outskirts, the best-known of such projects being the Bonamoussadi-Akwa Nord housing projects. With the attainment of the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in May 2006, new flows of cash were open, enabling the authorities to engage in the rehabilitation of the main streets in the city centre under the C2D programme. Through this programme, the roads and pavements in the city centre that had suffered years of neglect and abandonment were rehabilitated. Today, the commercial districts of Douala suffer no complexes and can stand elbow-to-elbow with any modern agglomeration around the world.
But some more good news came last week when the city’s development master plan till 2025 was unveiled during a visit by Jean Claude Mbwentchou, the new Minister for Housing and Urban Development. The plan envisages the mobilisation of a whopping FCFA 1,400 billion. The priorities in the master plan include the building of world class business centres deserving of Douala’s status, opening up of roads, building of gutters, provision of street lights, institution of a city mass transit system by bus and a mastery of housing plans.
The master plan was being unveiled shortly after the announcement that the “Douala Beach” project, an ambitious housing and urban development project in Douala, which had been at abeyance for some time now, was being revived as the new Minister had sought to be sufficiently briefed on the situation.
The volume and scope of the various initiatives to leapfrog Douala may leave a weak mind in quandary.
Minister Jean Claude Mbwentchou starts with a Seminar this morning, shortly followed by a visit to the low cost housing construction site, ending with a visit to the ongoing BATIMAIDE fair in Douala.
Details on the visit in just a moment.