Fritz Ntone Ntone, Government Delegate to the Douala City Council, Cameroon’s economic capital, says the metropolis needs at least FCFA 900 billion between now and 2025 to catch up with modern cities across the world.
Ntone Ntone made the revelation in Douala while chairing the opening ceremony of the launching of an investment scheme dubbed ‘Societe Metropolitan de Investisement du Douala’ codenamed SMID.
The SMID project was initially targeting to raise FCFA 10 billion share capital form interested investors from across Cameroon and beyond. It is to kick start projects that would change the outlook of the city.
Months after the SMID was launched for people to buy shares, the target of FCFA 10billion could not be attained. As at the day it was launched, FCFA 5.5billion representing a 54 per cent had been realised.
Talking to reporters after the pioneer general assembly of SMID shareholders, the municipal authority said, FCFA 5.5 billion remains encouraging for a start. The Government Delegate said the idea is till new in Cameroon and could pick steam as time goes on. Ntone Ntone averred that even if they had reached the 10billion target, it would not have been possible to hosts all shareholders in a single hall.
At the moment, one of the major projects earmarked within the SMID venture is the construction of a modern market at ‘Marche New Deido’. It is estimated to contain over 1,800 stores. The metropolitan development scheme also intends to construct other markets, create a Douala modernisation urban agency, an international shopping centre and state-of-the-art leisure facilities.
Douala faces huge infrastructural challenges. Most of its markets are poorly developed. Traders are exposed to traffic accidents and other risk. Poor drainage facilities and old-fashioned outlook has kept the municipality out of the league of modern cities.
The new approach comes in to fill the financial weakness of the City Council. Douala City Council lacks the huge amount of money required to drive its modernisation dream. It’s yearning to be like other cities across Africa such as Abuja in Nigeria and Abidjan in Ivory Coast.