The African Development Bank (AfDB) is seeking to improve the environmental and social compliance of its projects in Cameroon. This is the objective of the virtual capacity building workshop on environmental and social safeguards in project implementation, organized from 16 to 18 June 2021, in collaboration with the government of Cameroon.
In Cameroon, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has financed 31 projects for an amount of more than CFA Francs 1,400 billion, or a little over 2 billion euros in 2020. However, these investments have met with mixed fortunes. According to the Cameroonian Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, 44% of projects financed by the AfDB “have a satisfactory evolution”, while 41% are “pinned”. Other projects have an “early performance”. These shortcomings can be explained, among other things, by failures to take into account environmental and social requirements in the implementation of these projects. Yet Article 16 of the decree of February 23rd, 2005 laying down the modalities for carrying out environmental impact studies (EIS) in Cameroon stipulates that ‘any project promoter subject to the environmental impact study procedure must first obtain a certificate of environmental conformity for his project issued by the Minister in charge of the Environment before starting work’.
It is in this context that the AfDB organized from 16 to 18 June 2021, in collaboration with the government of Cameroon, a virtual capacity building workshop on environmental and social safeguards in the implementation of projects it finances. The aim was to build capacity to monitor project compliance with the safeguards defined in the environmental and social studies and financing agreements.
Maman-Sani Issa, Director of the AfDB’s Safeguards and Compliance Department, emphasized the tasks and obligations related to safeguards, to avoid delays or mixed results in project implementation. Clarification of the role and responsibilities of the environmental officer in the project implementation unit is crucial for the fulfilment of commitments made in the financing agreements. He also stressed the importance of regular reporting, with information exchange being the common thread between countries and the AfDB.
The pan-African financial institution has also committed to renewing these workshops in order to improve the quality and environmental and social compliance of projects in its portfolio in Cameroon, for a greater impact on the beneficiary populations.