An energy vision for Cameroon
It is evening in Ndzomayi, small neighbourhood in Babessi, North West region-Cameroon. Mama Mbeh Nchemanyi, 79 puts on her bush lamp to lighten her home. “I am using this lamp since my parents.” She said. Mama Mbeh’s strength is fading and her grief is worsened by the incessant increase in the price of kerosene.
In 2014, the government of Cameroon cut subsidies on petroleum products and this led to an increase in prices making things rough for those who depend on kerosene to lighten their homes like this old woman. Mama Mbeh told us she used to use 500 FCFA($1 USD) kerosene for one week and more but today she buy’s for 2000 FCFA($4 USD) and it does not last for three days.
But in the middle of Mama Mbeh’s plight two of her village sons from the big cities brought her a solar powered lamp last three weeks. Today with her new lamp, she has found a no cost solution to her light problems. “I am having this new lamp that is chargeable by sun. It is so wonderful, I leave it under the sun and I have light at night.” Prides Mama Mbeh. “I spend zero FCFA on kerosene again since I received this new lamp from my sons”. She explains further.
Mama Mbeh and the close to 150 people living in her area are happy to get news of this innovation. There is even more good news for them and the close to 10.6 million people that live in rural areas in Cameroon as the Minister of Water Resources and Energy (MINEE), Basile Atangana Kouna, announced on June 10, 2015 the launch of a photovoltaic solar energy plant project that will electrify 166 rural zones. This news adds to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) solar energy project in Cameroon, which is working to electrify some 90 localities in the West, North West and South West regions.
“New and renewable energies also offer us an important operational field for electricity generation. Two photovoltaic solar energy plants, of 500 MW each, will soon be constructed, within the framework of public/private partnership with the FIDES GESTION group and the Chinese HUAWEI company; the plants will primarily supply secondary towns and rural areas.” Said Minister Basile in a report published on his ministry’s website in 2014.
Minister Basile is equally optimist Cameroon will cover the shortage in supply for domestic and enterprise use in the months ahead. He counts on 201 –Mega Watt (MW) Memve’ele, 30 MW -Lom Pangar and 15 MW -Mekin hydroelectric projects and others small and medium sized projects in the Littoral, North West and Adamawa regions to reach his target. “We aim to triple our production by the year 2020 and, thus, step up the installed capacity to 3000 MW.” He revealed.
However, the president of the Republic, Paul Biya feels energy is a very significant element for Cameroon’s 2035 vision. Prefacing the MINEE’s report titled Water resources and Energy: The driving force of economic growth in Cameroon, President Biya said “Energy is at the core of any development process. Without it, there can neither be industry nor processing of raw materials, and hence, there can be no modern economy.”
Meanwhile on the 20th of July, 2015 Cameroon’s Minister of Environment, Nature protection and Sustainable Development, Pierre Hele hosted a two day workshop in the nations economic capital, Douala, to prepare an agenda for Paris COP 21, 2015 that will take place from November 30th to 11th December, 2015.
During the workshop, Minister Pierre Hele called on stake holders to guide their agenda towards the development of energy efficiency, promotion of smart agriculture and sustainable livestock.
The minister earnestly insisted on the support of reforestation projects particularly those that work towards keeping a green Sub saharan Africa.