Central African country Cameroon and its landlocked neighbor Chad are getting a significant boost to improve the efficiency and safety of cross-border trade and transit. The World Bank today approved a financing package to boost regional connectivity through a regional Cameroon-Chad Transport Corridor project. The World Bank also established Cameroon and Chad’s eligibility for the Prevention and Resilience Allocation.
The Cameroon-Chad Transport Corridor Project will be supported by $538 million from the International Development Association (IDA)*. It combines investments in rail and road infrastructure, with interventions on trade facilitation to improve the flow of people, goods, and services along the multimodal Douala-N’Djamena corridor—that concentrates 35 percent of the GDP for both countries, 20 percent of Chad’s population, and 35 percent of Cameroon’s population.
“Improving the rail and road corridor between Cameroon and Chad is essential for the competitiveness and improved integration of both countries into the regional market,” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon. “This project is a real window of opportunity to improve the lives of people living in the Lake Chad region, which is affected by climate change, political unrest, and violence,” added Clara de Sousa, Country Director for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger.
About 12 million people who live within the corridor will benefit from improved road and railway infrastructure, with reduced costs and transport time from the Port of Douala (in Cameroon) to N’Djamena (in Chad), better safety, and increased access to markets. The project will support the rehabilitation and modernization of critical road and rail networks, including a 595-kilometer road in Chad, as well as improve signaling systems, maintenance and upgrade the network to be more to make it more climate resilient. These major investments and complementary trade facilitation activities will boost the economy and will bring positive changes in the region, including around the Lake Chad which is expected to experience a 4.8 percent increase in real income.
“This project benefits from the lessons learned from ongoing and past projects in the region and fully aligns with the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s (CEMAC) objective to improve regional connectivity, a key pillar in its Regional Economic Program (PER)”, says Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa. “The World Bank’s wealth of experience shows that infrastructure investments, especially on a regional corridor, are more effective when combined with soft regulatory measures, namely trucking industry reforms, trade facilitation, and axle loads’ control.”
The eligibility of Cameroon and Chad for the Prevention and Resilience Allocation enables Cameroon and Chad to access additional IDA resources amounting respectively to $265 million for Cameroon, and $133 million for Chad to support World Bank financed programs in preventing a further escalation of conflict and build resilience. Conflict and violence have risen sharply since 2015, with the beginning of terrorist attacks in Chad mostly affecting the Lake Chad area. The PRAs will help both countries in developing a framework to monitor progress in the implementation of their prevention and resilience plans, and will support prevention activities that span across economic, social and security dimensions to better address the fragility situations in which the populations are trapped.