By Annie Babelle Odounlami
The Italian Ambassador to Cameroon, H. E. Marco Romiti and Cameroon’s Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey, co-chaired the first 2020 ordinary session of the ad-hoc steering and monitoring committee of the Cameroon-Italy bilateral agreement on the cancellation of Cameroon’s debt to Italy.
The cancellation is sent was done on July 21, 2020, made it possible to launch the new three-year period 2019-2021 for the funds resulting from this debt cancellation. Indeed, this new triennium, whose envelope is estimated at FCFA 12 billion, is intended for the implementation of development projects in some major sectors of the economy. They are: basic education, health, rural development and the development of agro-industrial sectors.
The developmental projects target four key regions of Cameroon which are the Far North, North, Adamawa, East among other economically disaster-stricken localities. Also, the project will see the construction of 21 primary schools, 13 integrated health centres, one district health centre, two sub-divisional centres and one mother and child centre amongst others. To this end, financial assistance would also be given to the Chantal Biya’s Integrated Research Center.
The three-year programme that started last year is expected to run till 2021 and will be beneficial to approximately 200 people on a daily basis, as 7500 pupils will be educated each year. Likewise, teacher’s absenteeism in the concerned localities will equally come to an end.
These schools will have lodging facilities for teachers, six classrooms will be equipped with a table and benches, an administrative building, bore hole taps and solar electrification systems just to name a few.
According to MINEPAT boss, “Achieving sustainable development can only happen if we are capable of ensuring good education and health access to our people.”
Therefore, emphasis was laid on disbursing funds from the debt cancellation programme to identified sectors. Going by his words, the Italian Ambassador to Cameroon reiterated that, the projects highlighted is worth FCFA 12 billion.
It is worth mentioning that, the debt cancellation programme is intended to run till 2042 and the global amount dedicated for Cameroon stands at FCFA 99 billion respectively.
The last session of the said committee was held in December 2019 which helped in assessing the physical and financial implementation of the projects selected for the 2017 and 2018 financial years, and to define the main orientations for the 2019-2021 triennium.