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“This is Just the Beginning” (Speech)

Following is the speech of the Head of state at the Foundation stone laying ceremony in Nyabizan.

“ The President of the National Assembly,

The Prime Minister, Head of Government,

Members of Government,

Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions,

Representatives of international organizations,

The Governor of the South Region,

The Senior Divisional Officer of the Vallée du Ntem,

The Divisional Officer of Ma’an Sub-Division,

The Mayor of Ma’an Council,

Honourable Members of the National Assembly,

Political, Traditional and Religious Authorities,

The elite and population of the South Region,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to start by thanking the Mayor of Ma’an Council for his kind words addressed to me.

Permit me as well to express my sincere gratitude to the dynamic people of the South Region and, more specifically, those of Nyabizan, for the warm welcome accorded me upon my arrival here.

My thanks also go to the dignitaries whose presence at this ceremony is an honour.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past few years, I have on several occasions told you that access to energy is of crucial importance to our country. Also, I have often deplored the fact that projects of this nature which we have studied and designed have failed to see the light of day.

I have fathomed the consequences of this situation.

Indeed, without energy, there can be no real development. There can be no industry. Our agricultural and mineral raw materials cannot be processed. In short, there can be no modern economy.

Energy shortage has taken a heavy toll on our industrial sector which is highly dependent on electricity supply.

Furthermore, inadequate energy supply has made the daily lives of a large segment of our population unbearable. The often extended periods of load shedding have also disrupted work in government services, social

services such as hospitals, and even security agencies. That is, if they have not led to loss of human lives and material damage.

While it is true that such electric power cuts have unfortunately not disappeared, there is hope that our country’s electricity supply will at last be able to meet its needs.

Pending the construction of hydroelectric power facilities on most of our rivers – which is the best solution as it is long-lasting and ultimately more cost-effective – we have resorted to thermal power plants which have enabled us to partially meet our most urgent needs.

Today marks the start of a new phase or rather of another phase of our hydroelectric power development, since I cannot forget the invaluable input of the Edea, Song-Loulou and Lagdo power plants.

 Distinguished Guests,

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

Promise Fulfilled

In my address to the Nation on 31 December 2011, I announced that we would soon be laying the foundation stone of the Memve’ele hydroelectric power project.

And indeed, here we are!

A few years from now, there will be a dam here, supplying a power plant of about 200 megawatts, thus boosting the energy supply on the south interconnected grid and supplying power to the future Kribi industrial and port complex, the South Region and perhaps our neighbours, if they so desire. It goes without saying that we can also expect some spin-offs from this project in terms of jobs, communication infrastructure (for example tarring of the road up to Nyabizan) and boosting of the local economy.

However, this is just the beginning. In the coming months, construction works on the Lom Pangar and Mekin dams and power plants will be launched and further studies for the Warak and Menchum hydroelectric dams will be conducted, pending the completion of the Sanaga hydroelectric power project.

 My Dear Compatriots,

As you can see, the “Major Accomplishments” policy is gradually being set in motion. Today, it is energy that is concerned. Tomorrow, it will be the mining sector. And then, agriculture which will witness its own silent

revolution. The other sectors will follow. We will thus be on the road to becoming an emerging economy.

To this end, we must each contribute our energy (you can say that again), enthusiasm and patriotism.

To conclude, I would like to commend the excellent friendship and cooperation ties existing between our country and the People’s Republic of China, which have made possible this major project we are launching today. I take the opportunity to express the gratitude of the Cameroonian people to the friendly people of China, through their Ambassador here present, for the constant and multifaceted support China is lending our country.

Thank you for your kind attention”

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