It was incredibly frustrating seeing the ring road project delayed for so long because no one was sure if it would ever be started.
By Ngosso a Ngosso
Three years after a presidential promise and 20 billion francs cfa in loans, only 60 km of the Bamenda Ring Road have been tarred so far out of the 367 km of the circular highway.
Beef and dairy products, tourism, general commerce and movement of people and goods have suffered for more than two decades since the Ring Road, which winds down the valleys and up the steep hills of the North West Region through the main towns of Kumbo, Nkambe, Wum and Bamenda, went to ruins.
Work is advancing albeit bit by bit on the road that links five Divisions: Mezam, Ngoketunjia, Bui, Donga Matung and Menchum.
The 60-km portion from Ndop to Kumbo is practically done with the construction company SATOM SOGEA putting on final touches. The sticky mud or blowing dust that used to assail travellers to Kumbo from Bamenda are now behind. The fare had equally dropped from 3.000 francs cfa to 2.000 francs cfa before rising to 2.500 francs cfa after the recent increase in fuel prices. And Sabga Hill, one of Cameroon’s most treacherous hills, is now less menacing.
The previous nightmare that travellers used to suffer along the Bamenda-Kumbo highway have finally been laid to rest as the road continues to receive a new blanket of tar onwards to Nkambe. Businesspersons, farmers and regular commuters are nursing high hopes of witnessing a boom in economic activities in Bui Division. Nevertheless, the increase in fuel prices does not sit well with many inhabitants of Kumbo.
“We are very happy our road has been finally tarred. We expect that business will boom now, but then the increase in fuel prices has again increased the fare to Bamenda,” Suliy Emma told The Green Vision.
The ring road runs thus; Ndop-Kumbo (60.5 km), Kumbo-Nkambe (66 km), Nkambe-Wum (110 km) and Wum-Bamenda (81 km).
With 20 billion (8 billion from the 2011 Public Investment Budget (BIP) and 12 billion from loans) probably already sunk in the Ring Road project, only time will tell when the rest of the highway will finished.