Suzanne Ngane is the Director of Cooperation and Communication of the Special Fund for Equipment and Inter-municipal Assistance (FEICOM) in Cameroon.
FEICOM, a Cameroonian public institution launched in 1974 to support decentralization, organized a workshop during the European Development Days (EDD) on issues related to financing local authorities in Cameroon. FEICOM has had a mandate for financial intermediation since 2006: one of its missions is to seek support from donors in helping municipalities to finance development projects.
In 2010, FEICOM financed a total of 209 projects worth FCFA 21bn for facilities for education, trade, electrification and water supply. The aim is to promote growth at the local level, while preserving the environment. Its partners include the major international cooperation agencies, such as Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Swissaid and others.
“The workshop presented projects for the management of forests, mines and quarries and local construction materials”, explains Suzanne Ngane. For example, FEICOM has worked on a forest management plan lasting several years with the Association of Forest Municipalities of Cameroon (ACFC), the aim being to take account of forest regeneration.
One of the initiatives also presented in Brussels was the “One child, one tree” project led by the Municipality of Kembo, which is located in the Northwest region of Cameroon, a dry area where reforestation is necessary. For each birth certificate issued by the Town Council, the parent must plant a tree. This initiative was awarded a special prize by FEICOM in 2011.
Among the projects more directly linked to sustainable development, Suzanne Ngane quotes municipal carpentry workshops in forest areas, sand mining units, as well as the Invest’Elec project launched in April 2012 and financed by the European Union (EU) and the electricity sector regulatory agency (Arsel). This FCFA 1bn project aims to involve the local private sector in power generation by exploiting the country’s hydropower potential in order to provide better coverage in rural areas. One of the Invest’Elec components involves getting SMEs to invest in renewable energy.
During the EDD, the Cameroonian organization invited both institutional and private partners to contribute. “Our resources mainly depend on revenues from incidental taxation”, points out Suzanne Ngane. These funds come from taxes, such as car taxes, an annual forest tax and a real estate property tax.
However, the projects supported by FEICOM can generate revenue and involve technology transfers, which could interest private partners under public-private partnerships (PPPs).