Development Projects: An Eye-opening Break In Investments

There could be many who keep wondering if Cameroon will be able to attain the much-heralded emergence by 2035. There are even those who are silently watching in bewilderment as the country keeps moving from one action plan to the other with an impact still to be felt on the lives of the people. Yet, it has been clearly stated that the entire desire to attain the level of Middle income nation by 2035 requires that, all the citizens be able to clothe themselves, ensure adequate health care, and be able to have education.     
In order to meet the various development targets, government has identified a number of projects that must be completed before the said date. They are either roads, hospitals, water supply projects, electricity dams, or sports infrastructure that are deemed vital for the wellbeing of the population. Of course, all the structures which have been qualified by experts as key to the country`s emergence need huge funding. Such monies have not always been easy to come-by. In some cases the funds are available but poorly managed. And this is just one of the many setbacks that life-changing projects have had to suffer from over the years. There have been understandable difficulties like unexpected external economic shocks that dealt blows to such heavy investments.      
While officials continue to brainstorm on ways to deliver the vital infrastructure to change the face of the national economy, the disclosure that the next three years will see priority being given to ongoing projects could not go unnoticed. It emerged from the first day of discussions on 10 August, 2022 by members of the Extended Conference on Budget Planning and Related Performance Validation for 2023-2025 that no new investment projects will be admitted within this period. This sounds like a logical break, in order to take a good leap forward, going by the number of projects pending. With 474 uncompleted projects, there is no need to keep piling more.     
Curiously, 40 projects out of the number are said to concern the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which Cameroon hosted in early 2022 and 17 projects belong to the Three-year Emergency Development plan launched over five years ago. AFCON is over and if there is still much to be done so as to meet the desired target announced before the event even took place and if the Three-year Emergence projects have taken so long, then there is some call for concern. There are projects that were expected to benefit from internal funding and nine of them are categorised as those with already exhausted external funds. Yet, there is still need for foreign support to complete such initiatives. Checking on the figures, the State is still expected to mobilise FCFA 4,526 billion from 2023-2025 to complete the 474 projects earmarked.     
Taking a break from new projects now should be an important benchmark to enable those charged with managing infrastructural development in the country to map out a better way forward. This does not only mean focusing on what has to be done but also looking at what went wrong in the first place. Was it just a problem of lack of funds? Were there people along the chain who failed to do their job? Were the projects well-conceived in the first place? These are just a few of the questions that will have to be answered by those called to examine the budget proposals for the fiscal period that has been indicated. Officials will not only have to be more accountable, but must have to pay keener attention to the weaknesses that have made the country to drift away from its development targets.     
If the Head of State instructed that the next three years be dedicated to ongoing projects, it must be for a reason. Cameroon is currently running the 2020-2030 National Develo...

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