Last Thursday, October 26, Prime Minister Joseph Dion N’Gute called a crisis meeting on the deterioration of certain roads and the accumulation of waste in Yaounde. During the meeting, the Prime Minister ordered some “emergency works”. For instance, the Yaounde City Council (CUY) and district councils were tasked to immediately fill the potholes, pending substantial work on certain roads requiring heavy investment.
According to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development (MINHDU), Célestine Ketcha Courtès, a study carried out by her Ministry shows that XAF13.5 billion is needed to fill the potholes in Yaoundé. Last June, the Ministry claimed it had already mobilized XAF1 billion and invited the CUY and district councils to make contributions to tackle the issue.
Minister Célestine Ketcha Courtès attributes the significant deterioration of the roads to their aging infrastructure, compounded by the impact of heavy rainfall, inconsistent maintenance, and population growth pressures.
She advocated for "innovative approaches" that she believed could facilitate sustainable road management, including the implementation of interlocking paving stones and roller-compacted concrete, eliminating the need for bitumen.
During the crisis meeting, the Prime Minister also highlighted the growing issue of waste piles scattered across the streets and roads of the capital, accumulating in markets, school premises, restaurants, and bars, obstructing the drainage systems, and transforming Yaounde into a "garbage town." Joseph Dion Ngute emphasized that such conditions do not align with the expected "splendor" that should characterize the town that hosts most Cameroonian institutions, especially at a time when Cameroon will host the 44th session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie, from November 3 to 5.
Nearly 400 participants and 100 delegations are expected for the session, according to the Ministry of External Relations (Minrex). The stakes are high for the government, which wants to put on a good show for its guests. On this issue, the city's mayor, Luc Messi Atangana, affirms that efforts are being made to curb this phenomenon, caused in particular by the "insufficient number" of people in charge of household waste collection, the incivism of the population and the rapid expansion of the city. To this end, he says, the CUY is preparing a call for tenders to recruit new operators and is exploring the establishment of transit waste disposal sites, aiming to revive the allure of Yaoundé.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem