Transport in Cameroon

The transport infrastructure overall suffers from inadequate investment and maintenance. The rail network, totalling some 1,104 km forms the most important component. The main line is the 885-km 'Transcameroon', from Douala to Ngaoundéré. There are plans to connect the line with the proposed new port at Grand Batanga (see below) and, in the long term, to construct a 1,000 km-line from Kribi to the Central African Republic (CAR). The road network totalled some 34,300 km in 1995, of which 4,288 km were paved. Roads in the north have been improved to give access to the Ngaoundéré rail-head, and there are long-term plans to upgrade the east-west road linking Nigeria with the CAR.

In 2001, development has been impeded by the economic crisis. Cameroon has seaports at Douala-Bonabéri, Kribi and Limbe-Tiko (although the latter is now almost completely unusable), and a river port at Garoua. Total traffic handled by Doula-Bonabéri in 1996/97 was an estimated 4.7m tons, accounting for about 95% of all port activity. Feasibility studies have been Conducted for deep-water ports at Cap Limboh (near Limbe and the oil refinery) and Grand Batanga, south of the existing port handling wood and minerals at Kribi. The latter is dependent on the exploitation of the offshore gas reserve and iron ore reserves, neither of which seems likely in the near future.

The poor state of the road network has encouraged the development of internal air travel and of small domestic airports. Cameroon Airlines-75% owned by the government and 25% by Air France, but scheduled for privatisation by 2000-has provided domestic flights and services to Africa and Europe since Cameroon's withdrawal from Air Afrique in 1971. There are international airports at Douala, Garoua and Yaounde.

The main international airport is the Douala International Airport. Secondary international airports are at Yaoundé and Garoua. In total, there were 34 airports in 2008, only 10 of which had paved runways. Cameroon Airlines, which went into operation 1 November 1971, flies to Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, and many African cities; it also operates all scheduled domestic flights. In 2003, about 315,000 passengers were carried on domestic and international flights. Cameroon Airlines is jointly owned by the government and Air France. Among the other airlines serving Cameroon are Pan Am, Air Afrique, Alitalia, Swissair, Iberia, Air Zaire, Air Mali, and Nigeria Airways.

In 2006 150 km/h CONTAINER TRAINS FOR AFRICA - At the inauguration of his second term, President Ismael Omer Guelle of Djibouti appealed for a 6,000 km landbridge rail line linking his country's Gulf of Tadjourah to Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea. Estimated to cost $US6 billion, the line would run through the Sudan and the Central Africa Republic. Neighbouring landlocked countries such as southern Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi would all benefit from improved facilities for import and export traffic, as well as Chad. Pointing out that the trade development, peace and economy of the African continent could be considerably enhanced, Guelle suggested that the project forms part of the investment programme proposed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the G8 meeting in Scotland.

Nigeria wants to link with Cameroon - Stormy talks have characterised attempts to implement the October 2002 decision by the International Court of Justice at The Hague, declaring Cameroon owner of the prized oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula. Nigeria has now demanded a rail link with Cameroon.

Cameroon's central location in the network means that efforts to close the gaps which exist in the network across Central Africa rely on the Cameroon's participation in maintaining the network, and the network has the potential to have a profound influence on Cameroon's regional trade. It is likely for instance that within a decade a great deal of trade between West Africa and Southern Africa will be moving on the network through Yaoundé.

Prices of petrol rose steadily in 2007 and 2008, leading to a transport union strike in Douala on 25 February 2008. The strike quickly escalated into violent protests and spread to other major cities. The uprising finally subsided on 29 February.

Railways in Cameroon are operated by Camrail, a subsidiary of French investment group Bolloré. As of 2008, the country had an estimated 987 km of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) gauge track. In 2007, the traffic on the line was estimated to be 1MT per year freight, including 1 million passengers per year.

In 2007 Edéa to Kribi ( about 130 km ) for Aluminium export branch would almost link the existing railways with the Sundance Iron Railway, albeit on different gauges. Sundance Resources iron ore project. In 2008 Iron ore line from Mbalam to port of Lolabé[citation needed], about 490 km. In 2009 Lolabe is port site narrowed down. Kribi mentioned as preferred terminus of iron ore line from Mbalam mines.

Last Updated on Wednesday 9th December 2009