Bamenda Industrial Zone: Close to Ten years on: No industry with land at 400F a meter square

By Bakah Derick

The 44 hectares of land secured by the industrial Zone Management and Development mission (MAGZI) in Ntah-na-ah Nkwen Bamenda III subdivision is yet to have a hut belonging to an industry despite announcements as far back as 2016 by MAGZI officials that 10 hectares of the land had been taken according to a report on Cameroon Tribune on the 20 November 2014. 

Visiting the site on Friday 29 October, 2021, a beautiful road from national road number 11 just before National Polytechnique University Institute led to the site via settlements in Ntah-Benkeh quarter in Nkwen into the bushy industrial Zone. Accompanying the road is a three line high tension electricity installation that also supplies power to the neighbourhood. 

Visible was the near 1.3km of tarred road leading to the site with bridges and culverts built, electricity has been installed while some pillars have been planted round the industrial zone. 
We were on site...

With feasibility studies started in 2012, indemnities paid just after that and work started, locals say this was to them a dream come true project. 

"The way things started here when MAGZI came we knew that God has finally blessed us. Unfortunately things have not been like we thought. I don't know if it is the crisis but I think we are calm here and we expected things to be happening." Funwie Johnson a property owner close to the site told hilltopvoices.

Though the crisis seems to be a reason for the slow take off of things, Leonard a social critique thinks otherwise. 

"The people (MAGZI) will now be claiming that it is because of crisis that work is not going on but can an industry come and install in an area without water? Forget that thing. It is one of the many lies the government has told people of the North West Region." Leonard said connecting his claim to the referral hospital in Ntabang, ring road and Bamenda stadium. 

In January 2016, the Technical Adviser at MAGZI Ndifor Tita said studies are still going on to install other facilities like water amongst others. There was no water on the site when we visited. He was was seen later visiting the Bamenda III Water plant in Menteh expressing hope that there could be partnership with the council to get water to the zone. 

According to a report on published on the 9th of October 2018, MAGZI had revealed that children from the region will be given priority to invest in the zone with a square meter of land costing 400F with the possibility for review downwards. Our investigations to establish if the hectares occupied already is by children of the region is ongoing. The report contains a call by the Christol Georges Manon, General Manager MAGZI inviting investors to contact the regional office for investment details. This was two years into the crisis. 

The report on however carries a controversial declaration by the GM of MAGZI. "The general manager added that, five hectares out of the 44 available have already found takers. They will thus be able to benefit from the infrastructures in supply of electrical energy, water and even roads." The report contradicting an earlier report on CameroonTribune in 2014 of 10 hectares taken. 

"Sincerely I feel very disappointed with MAGZI because I bought this place around because of the industrial Zone. I buried my money here for nothing. It is such a shame. These are little things that could prevent many young people that could be considering taking arms but where are we... almost 10years? No me ooh..." Tanwie lamented 

MAGZI  is charged "with developing and managing industrial zones nationwide. It supports the State in implementing its industrial promotion and environment protection policy. This therefore implies that it has as objectives in contributing to the development of the industrial fabric in Cameroon; facilitate the reception and implantation of economic operators, especially industrialists; contribute in reducing unemployment, managing urban and semi-urban areas and protecting the environment and work towards attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by contributing to the protection of the environment." Emmanuel Ngota writes 

As the people wait, the land is being used for hunting and other things by unknown individuals.