| 31-10-2017 23:55
The creation of new industrial zones, notably the one in Bamenda which recently received an evaluation visit of the highest authority of the Institution for the Management of Industrial Zones- MAGZI, opens another page in the development of industries in Cameroon. In a statement published on the national media, the General Manager of MAGZI ordered businesses wishing to open new industries to target new industrial zones such as Ombe in the South West Region, for businesses wishing tio settle in Douala. The reason advanced for this administrative shift is the saturation of Douala's two industrial zones of Bassa and Bonaberi. Irrespective of how this decision has been interpreted by the business sector, it is important to state inter alia the impact it is expected to have in the promotion of a decentralized economy. Cameroon as a country was quite aware of the importance of such initiative to boost its industries, hence the creation of several industrial zones.
From every indication, the objective set by the administration, is far from being achieved. Some industrial zones created several decades back have not been able to blossom as expected. Some, like the one in the Mvan neighbourhood in Yaounde have been invaded by private homes and activities that have nothing to do with industrial development. How this has come to be is another question. Does this laxity in industrial development readily translate the country's private sector staleness? Is it that the administration has failed on its part to provide the necessary facilities that can attract industries to the area? These and many other questions are lingering in the minds of the population. In effect, an industrial zone, known in other places as industrial park, is an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development. Located on the edges of, or outside main residential areas of the city, industrial zones are conceived to be provided with good transportation access, including road and rail. They are supposed to be located close to transport facilities, especially where several transport modes coincide, including highways, railroads, airports and ports.
The laxity with which industries are getting implanted in industrial zones in Cameroon raises lots of eyebrows. Both government through MAGZI and the business world are challenged. As a facilitator, MAGZI may need to go the extra mile in its bid to develop these areas so as not to be blamed for failing in its duty. Industrial zoning so to say is based on a number of concepts one of which is to be able to attract new businesses by providing an integrated infrastructure in one location. This is the impression MAGZI authorities gave while visiting the Bamenda Industrial Zone which covers 44 hectares of land and is said to have been mapped out into eight platforms.