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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora