Can the Market, instead of the government provide potable water for Cameroonians? By Chofor Che

Published:29 Jun, 2011

Without potable water, there is no life. However, most governments in Central Africa and especially the government of Cameroon undermine this natural right. The acute portable water shortage in Cameroon is alarming. It is more pronounced in rural Cameroon, Yaoundé and the economic capital, Douala. Douala, is blessed with a sea port as well as other water sources, but suffers enormously from acute portable water shortages. Over the months, the number of deaths caused by water borne diseases has doubled.

At times water may start flowing from taps only after midnight. People must wake up late at night to get a chance to fill their buckets. But the quantity and quality of water stored is hardly enough and conducive for a big family. Due to the scarcity of water, people have to walk several kilometres in search of drinking water they are not guaranteed to find. The cholera epidemic which still plagues the country derives its origin from this problem.

Whilst the government enjoys the circus of mega plans to solve the artificial water crisis, ordinary individuals and council are seeking alternatives to water livelihood. Some council areas have even taken up the challenge to build portable water units. The Tsinga neighbourhood in the capital city has done well to provide a portable water unit that supplies three other neighbourhoods.

The government of Cameroon has announced the launch of so many giant projects in regard to this problem. Many argue that this is a political hoax by the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Party, CPDM. They add that the CPDM is using this strategy to garner votes for October’s Presidential elections 2011.

Instead of speeding up the process to relieve the people, the government claims that studies are still being done for an effective and durable provision of portable water in the country.

Some of the projects in the pipeline include that of the river Sanaga in the Central Region to supply water in the country’s capital city, Yaoundé. Recently, Ministry of Energy and Water Resources signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, China Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC) for the latter to carry out feasibility studies to supply the city of Yaoundé with portable water from River Sanaga.

According to the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Michael Ngako Tomdio, the project on River Sanaga will upon completion bring additional supply of 100 000 cubic metres of water daily to the town. The studies are expected to span for a period of one year after which government could start setting up some benchmarks on how much it could cost, how long it would take and where to get financing. Why should such an important study take forever?

Recently the government through the country’s water corporation, CAMWATER signed a loan agreement with the French Development Agency to the tune of 65.6 billion for the supply of four towns in the country. These towns include Yaoundé, Ngaoundere, Edea and Bertoua. According to the terms of the agreement, the loan will be paid back in twenty years with a five year period of grace.

It is so disheartening for a country blessed with natural resources such as Cameroon to depend grossly on financial assistance for the revamping of the water sector. The truth is that most of these loans gotten from Development partners are siphoned by corrupt civil servants. Part of the revenue derived from a sector like the country’s oil sector, can in effect solve the water crisis in the country. There is no need to borrow huge amounts of money from Development partners. These loans come with humongous interests rates and those who suffer the brunt of these heavy interests’ rates are dying Cameroonians whose lack of portable water is no fault of theirs, but that of government.

Another major cause of this acute water shortage is the poor maintenance of water supply equipments. Normally, government has to ensure that after ten to twenty years of using equipments, these equipments used in water supply especially to the capital city are replaced. The running budget of the country’s water corporation, CAMWATER provides for the replacement of equipments after a certain period of time. The fact is that this money is not used for this purpose. The money finds its way into the pockets of corrupt government officials.

The country had before privatised the water sector. But this process was a failure because a majority of the shares was bought and managed by government, thus defeating the true purpose of privatisation. If the country could implement actual privatisation in this sector, then the country could be relieved of acute water supply shortages. There is therefore need for Cameroon’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to revisit the water policy in the country. Implementing a sustainable market strategy which would embrace the private sector is therefore the way forward.

Chofor Che is a Cameroonian Academic and an associate of This article has been syndicated via

Related Posts

Recent Posts

AU defence chiefs meet in Mali over terrorism

African Union chiefs of defence staff and ministers of defence have agreed on the need to enhance cooperation to increase the effectiveness of member states’ action against threats of terrorism.   This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Col. Rabe Abubakar. The statement stated that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, presented Nigeria’s counter-insurgency report at the forum holding in Bamako, Mali.   It said that the meeting would strengthen cooperation...

Ekiti proposes life imprisonment for kidnappers

In a bid to stem the tide of kidnapping in the state, the Ekiti State government has forwarded a bill seeking life imprisonment for individuals convicted of kidnapping to the state House of Assembly.   The proposed anti-kidnapping law was one of the decisions reached on Friday at the State Executive Council which was presided over by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kolapo Olusola.   According to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, who briefed newsmen at the end of the meeting,...

Law School Whizkid Writes A Book On Academic Success

Jumping from the back of the pack right into the academic front line is possible, according to Uzoma Ikechukwu, the 26-year old lawyer who knows. And it’s all from experience: Uzoma hit a first class at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, in 2014, a year recorded to have produced the worst result since the establishment of the school. The general report was that the failure rate for that year was unprecedented, but right in the centre of...

Buhari, Osinbajo Haven’t Declared Their Assets Yet- PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described as “a deceptive window-dressing to hoodwink unsuspecting Nigerians” the release, by an aide of President Muhammadu Buhari of a “mere” list of some belongings of the president and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, in place of the pledge made to Nigerians by Mr. Buhari as candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on March 18, 2015, at exactly 5 pm. The PDP recalled that the President in his own words...

Rukky Sanda Reveals Her Age

Nollywood actress, Rukky Sanda, who recently premiered her new movie, "Dark", has revealed her age on social media. The actress who also recently marked her birthday has got many wondering what the exact numbers are. Let's throw the question to you... How old do you think she is? Well, find that out on her instagram post:

We Are In The Dark Over Ministerial Appointments- APC Leaders

Some members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have raised alarm that the party leaders are in the ‘’dark’’ over the president’s ongoing process to appoint his ministers this month. The president had promised to appoint his ministers this month and by the nation’s constitution, he is expected to appoint a minister each from the 36 states of the federation. Although the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie...

Rita Dominic Stuns In Mauritius

Gorgeous A-list actress, Rita Dominic, has been slaying the Multi Choice Africa Content Showcase in Mauritius. Here is a sneak peek into her amazing flawless outfits. See Instagram posts below:

Jessie J Flaunts Beautiful Cornrows

Bang Bang crooner, Jessie J, who is easily identified rocking her short hair on stage now rocks cornrows. She shared her beautifully made hair on Instagram, with another group photo. See instagram posts below:

Mourinho Bags 5 Guinness Book Of Records Certificates

Chelsea Foootball Club manager, Jose Mourinho, has had his name entered into the 2016 version of the Guinness Book of Records. He was presented with unique framed certificates marking his achievements at Cobham recently. Mourinho’s five managerial records in the latest edition of the famous and prestigious book are as follows: Longest football unbeaten home run by a manager (nine years) Most Champions League titles with different clubs (two) Youngest manager to reach 100 Champions League matches (49 years...

Groups Express Concern Over ‘Exclusion Of Women’ In Buhari’s Appointments

Some Nigerian women groups have expressed concern over what they see as the neglect of women in President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointment of principal officers. The women raised their concern at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday. The President of Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendu, said the non-inclusion of women in the appointments so far made by the present administration would hamper the country’s democracy. “We warn that this exclusion of women, if not...

Watch How Late Civil Servants Pleaded With Fayose

Recently, Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, paid a surprise visit to civil servants at their office. Many of those apprehended for coming late prostrated, cried and prayed... Watch clip below: Credit: YouTube

Story Behind The Drowned Syrian Boy (MUST READ)

A Syrian family that met a tragic end while attempting to flee their war-torn country has come to symbolize the larger refugee crisis. Abdullah Kurdi, 40, is now mourning the deaths of his wife, Rehan, 27, and their two sons, Aylan and Galip, whom he lost during an ill-fated trip to the Greek island of Kos. Tragic pictures of 3-year-old Aylan’s lifeless body, which washed ashore a beach in the Turkish city of...

Take A Tour Into The Most Expensive House In The U.S. (PHOTOS)

Palazzo di Amore, the most expensive house on the market in the U.S., developed by Mohamed Hadid is now priced to move at $145 million!  

American Clerk Who Denied Gay Couples Marriage Licenses Gets Jail Term

U.S. District Judge David Bunning is holding Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who said she has God's authority to deny gay people their constitutional right to get married — in contempt of court. ?She will remain in jail "until she complies or instructs staff to start issuing licenses," reports WSAZ's Dan Griffin.  Three U.S. Marshals? reportedly escorted Davis away Thursday afternoon. USA Today reports that Bunning, who had ordered Davis to process marriage licenses for same-sex couples in a previous hearing, said that a fine wouldn't...

A/Ibom Governorship Election Was Free And Fair, PDP Witnesses Tell Tribunal

More witnesses presented by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the disputed Akwa Ibom governorship election have testified that the election in the state was free, fair and complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010. At the resumed hearing of the Akwa Ibom Election Tribunal on Thursday, a defence witness, Samuel Iyang, told the Justice Sadiq Umar-led panel that it was false that elections did not take place, as alleged by the petitioner. The witness...

Warri Refinery To Resume Production In November- Kachikwu

Recently shut Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, will not be resuming operation any time soon, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Emmanuel Kachikwu has disclosed. The refinery will now resume full production in the first week of November. It has the capacity to process 125, 000 barrels of crude oil per day. Kachikwu disclosed this yesterday during facility tour of the refinery and the adjoining Pipelines and Products Marketing Company,...

Army Cuts Off Boko Haram’s Food Supply

The Nigerian Army yesterday, said it has succeeded in cutting off the supply routes of Boko Haram insurgents, thereby rendering them dejected, hungry and with no capability to confront troops in the renewed offensive against the terrorists. The army, which stated that the military was gaining an upper hand, how- ever, attributed the successes so far recorded in the operations to members of the public, who it said, have been assisting with relevant information and intelligence. It...

Pastor Chris Okotie Responds To Emeka Ike’s Marriage Crisis Allegation

Pastor of the Household of God Church, Lagos, Chris Okotie, has described an allegation levelled against him by Nollywood actor, Emeka Ike, that he is responsible for the crisis rocking his marriage, as rubbish. Ike had, in a statement on Thursday, accused Okotie of stalling efforts he is making to save his marriage with Suzanne. Trouble started in Ike’s home recently, when the wife accused him of assaulting her. While the actor has repeatedly denied this,...

DSS Fires Buhari’s Ex-CSO, Marilyn Ogar, 48 Others

Indications have emerged that former spokesman of the Department of State Services (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, was sent packing from the nation’s secret police for her alleged partisan role during the last general elections while President Muhammadu Buhari’s former chief security officer (CSO), Abdulrahman Mani, was sacked for absenting himself from work. Reports gathered from sources indicates that Ogar, who has seven more years to go in the DSS, was sent on compulsory retirement along with two...

Army Reinstates 3,032 Soldiers

 Out of 5,000 convicted soldiers, 3,032 soldiers were reinstated to their jobs after being convicted by military courts for various offences. The reinstatement followed a recommendation by a military screening committee set up to review cases against the soldiers. The officers and men were handed varying terms of imprisonment or outright dismissal for offences ranging from Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL), insubordination, indiscipline and theft among others. Army Public Relations Acting Director Col. Sani...

Boko Haram Kills 5 In Borno, 30 In Cameroon

Borno State and neighbouring Cameroon have continued to be under heavy attacks from suspected members of the Boko Haram, killing at least five persons in the former and, 30 in the latter. On Wednesday, members of the sect stormed a Borno village called Mainari but were repelled by security forces. That was, however, not until at least five people had been killed. A military source said gunshots rang out in the village on Wednesday evening,...