Cameroon:Another Anglophone marginalization,BAMENDA sidelined in plans for airport expansion
photo-Alexander Herring, Managing Director Safegate Germany/France, had an audience with H.E. Minister of Transport of Cameroon, M. Edgard Alain MEBE NGO’O early last year to discuss airport expansion plans for airports in Cameroon.
Since alafnet.com published on 15 of October 2015 an investigative report on Bamenda airport going operational, readers of this publication to know if the news of Bamenda airport going operational was a hoax.
In an attempt to answer the questions posed by our readers this reporter decided to carry another investigation as to why such an why an ambitious project by Camra regional airlines is yet to be realized, added to that, last year,the Canadian based company carried feasibility studies for its aircraft to land on the Besong-abang airport located some 100 km in the outskirts of Mamfe- Manyu Division,again alafnet.com then,reported on that too.
According to our investigation within the ministry of transport and Cameroon civil aviation authority (CCAA0, part of the reasons the Bamenda Airport is yet to go operational following the CAMRA regional airlines (a Canadian company) plan which had scheduled to fly charter and air cargo to Bamenda and regional airports including, Douala, Yaounde, Bafoussam, Tiko, Ngoundere, Garoua amongst other destinations in Cameroon is highly linked to Anglophone marginalization.
Following alafnet’s second investigations from the Prime ministry to the transport ministry, it seems the Ministry of Transport Mr. Edgar Mebe Ngo’o has been stalling the processing of the operating license for over two years now.
Information gathered here and there and subsequently confirmed by a former pilot of Camair-co say it is worrying because a Bamenda link ( Bamenda -Yaounde,Bamenda- Douala) should have more economically benefit than a Bafoussam link.
He frowns that Bamenda secondary airport used for domestic flights should have been upgraded at the same time as Maroua salak airport to an international airport by the Minister of Transportation, Robert Nkili.Yet Bamenda Airport lacks the tools to accommodate night flights.Unlike Garoua, Maroua, Bafoussam, Douala and Yaounde the regime deliberately removed airfields lights on the runway of Bamenda airport though designers had envisaged it.He further argues that government should let foreign airlines operate domestic flights.
Notorious for its agricultural productivity, the grass field regions will promptly serve the nutritional needs of the northern and eastern regions of Cameroon,immediate employment opportunities that come along with the installation of airports in an area would trigger the development of associated businesses like Hotels and restaurants. These further expose the rich cultural values and natural touristic opportunities, hidden from the external environment.
Just imagine: that tourists would tour with much ease; that farmers would export fresh harvests quickly; that the sick would get emergency treatment in national medical centers of Yaounde and Douala in 35 minutes, all at a very reasonable fair of 25,000 FCFA, one way, which is cheaper than driving a car from Yaounde to Bamenda. The choice of a 34 sitter aircraft is great for tourists while the 20 tons cargo aircraft will be good for Agricultural, business , employment, and socio-economic development of territories and all regions of Cameroon as well as neighboring countries.
This project will unleash the economic potential of the region, as no other. Thus, fulfilling the goals of Cameroon becoming an emerging economy by 2035.
Bamenda Sidelined Again
In march last year Alexander Herring, Managing Director Safegate Germany/France, had an audience with H.E. Minister of Transport of Cameroon, M. Edgard Alain MEBE NGO’O to discuss airport expansion plans for airports in Cameroon, Africa.During the meeting, Mrs. Paule Koki, Director General of Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority(CCAA), presented the current and future expansion plans for the international and regional airports in Cameroon.
Cameroon has 42 aerodromes and among them, ten have scheduled traffic, three are international airports and five are major regional airports. The international airports are Douala International Airport (Cameroon’s busiest airport), Yaoundé-Nsimelen International Airport and Garoua International Airport, while the most important regional airports are Maroua-Salak Airport in the North, Ngaoundéré Airport in the province of Adamaoua, Bertoua Airport in the East, Bafoussam Airport in the West, and Bamenda Airport in the North West region .
Major rehabilitation works at the Douala International Airport financed by French Agence Francaise de Développement have been completed and Yaoundé international airport which is currently operating with Safegate’s Safedock, is expected to be expanded.
adbsafegaurd.com reporting on Cameroon’s plans for international and national airports expansion last march 2016 ,said Alexander Herring also attended a meeting at the World Bank’s office in Yaoundé related to financing the Cameroonian aviation sector. During the meeting, the transport specialist of the World Bank, based in Yaoundé, presented a project currently in the pipeline for improving safety and security of the four largest airports( Aroua Salak, Yaoundé-Nsimalen, Douala and Garoua). These improvements will be achieved by strengthening their capacity for planning, preparation, implementation, operation and maintenance of the facilities in order to fully comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) air safety and security requirements.What has become then to Bamenda airport?
The aim is to strengthen Cameroon’s role as the transport hub for Central Africa by enhancing efficiency and safety at Cameroon’s international airports. The presentation of the project to the board of the World Bank is planned for end of 2016. The source of the project’s financing is expected to be the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and from the African Development Bank.
By 2034, eight of the ten fastest growing aviation markets are expected to be in Africa. Nearly 300 million passengers will travel to and from African destinations and much of this growth in air traffic is anticipated in routes within the African continent. Cameroon aims to strengthen it’s role as a transport hub for Central Africa by enhancing efficiency and safety of the country’s international airports.
by Edmond Tambe.￼