News / Africa

Second Major Bridge to be Built over Cameroon's Wouri River

FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
x
FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
— Cameroon President Paul Biya has laid the foundation stone for one of his biggest projects after 31 years in power.  His government will build an 820 meters long second bridge over the Wouri River in the economic capital city, Douala - called the "Gateway into Central Africa."   It is expected to reduce congestion on the first bridge constructed 60 years ago by France, the former colonial ruler of Cameroon.

Just above the dark waters of the Wouri River near Cameroon's Atlantic coast lies a one kilometer bridge, the longest in the Central African Sub region.  It was constructed by French colonial masters 60 years ago to carry 2,000 vehicles per day.

Douala, CameroonDouala, Cameroon
x
Douala, Cameroon
Douala, Cameroon
The bridge today carries more than 45,000 vehicles a day, some transporting goods from Douala's deep seaport, to landlocked countries like Chad and the Central African Republic.  Wood, cocoa, coffee, banana and cotton destined for European Countries also pass over the bridge.

Ntube Rachel, who imports textiles, says at times it takes them four hours to cross the bridge.

“When we get to Douala is like a nightmare to cross just the Wouri bridge. You always meet accidents. In fact one cannot explain all of the experiences,” said Ntube Rachel.

Many bridge users prefer saving time by hiring the services of commercial motorcycle drivers because they navigate between the vehicles and trains stopped on the bridge.

Kwete Theophyl, a driver, says that they make brisk business charging at times up to $1 per person.

He says people complain about the price but they prefer to get across the bridge quickly.

The government of France offered a loan of $175 million to Cameroon to build a second bridge over the Wouri and de-congest the traffic on the existing bridge. The government of Cameroon is expected to provide about $67 million for the completion of the new bridge.  

While laying the foundation stone for its construction, Cameroon President Paul Biya said the bridge will be one of the most beautiful in the World.

“Ladies and gentlemen, bridges are art objects that gives testimony of technical progress like the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco. This second bridge may be as important as the one I have just mentioned,” he said.

Cameroonians like Elema Ernest, an official at Cameroon's Ministry of Finance, says bridge's construction will improve economic activity not only in Douala, but the entire Central African Sub Region.

“The economic importance of this bridge is more than words can tell because you know that this bridge does not only link the Littoral Region with the South West, West, and North West Regions that are very productive as far as agriculture is concerned. It links West Africa to Central Africa because Douala is the entrance to Central Africa. It links the ECOWAS countries and the CEMAC countries,” said Ernest.

Cameroonians have been expressing concerns that the multinational road construction company SOGEA SATOM, which won the contract to build the bridge, may not include local companies in its construction plan.

Cameroon's Minister of Public Works, Patrice Ambassala, says they had discussed the issue with the company and Cameroonian enterprises. And he promises more than 500 jobs for local residents, many of them to be used as sub-contractors.

The project to construct a second bridge over the River Wouri is one of President Paul Biyas political promises.

In his economic blueprint for Cameroon called "Vision 2035," Biya indicates that he wants to make the country an emerging nation within two decades.

The new bridge will be a slightly curving structure serving as both a road and a railway bridge capable of carrying two rail tracks.

The road is to have five lanes covering 820 meters in length and 34 meters in width.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid