In June 2012, China donated to Cameroon remarkable financial assistance to the tune of 1.46 billion CFA francs to provide a solar street lighting system in some parts of the country. This project was launched in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital.
The point of departure of this project is Soa in the outskirts of Yaoundé and will definitely benefit this University City, which habours the University of Yaoundé II , Soa. This project will also be introduced in rural areas where it is assumed the cutting-edge technology will benefit the local communities.
The project will be realised by the Chinese company HUAWEI Technologies Company Limited, whose executive manager Lu Xiang signed the executing contract with the Cameroonian Minister for Water and Energy (MINEE) Basile Aangana Kouna.
While he commended ‘the good relations and mutual cooperation between Cameroon and China,’ Mr. Kouna also said that solar street lights will significantly contribute to improving public lighting, while cutting down electricity costs especially at the Yaoundé II University, reducing road accidents and insecurity.
In addition to this component, the Cameroonian official said: ‘the scheme aims to diversify energy sources as well as explore renewable energy sources, which will help absorb Cameroon’s energy deficit’.
Concerns remain on the realisation and sustainability of this project. Experience has proven that a lot of government interference in processes of this calibre has either led to a poor infrastructural and technological build-up of such projects, or a lack of sustainability of such projects.
The solar energy initiate is a laudable idea and indeed it would improve on the energy sector in the country. Therefore the forces that be, especially those at MINEE must give this initiative an opportunity to lengthy survive and influence the livelihood of Cameroonians who suffer grossly from acute power shortages.
Another dimension of this project is that, Cameroonians as well as foreigners would be employed. Again the government needs to ensure that there is a transparent mechanism put in place to ensure the best qualified workers are employed to ensure the realisation of this project.
If these measures are facilitated by the government of Cameroon, then Cameroonians can boast of the solar energy dream in Cameroon. Acute power shortages will be curbed by such an important initiative.