Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaThe Chad - Cameroon Pipeline Project, Is it a necessary evil?
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
The Chad - Cameroon Pipeline Project, Is it a necessary evil? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Crystal_Abongta, Cameroon Nov 4, 2002
Education , Health , Culture   Opinions
 1 2 3 4   Next page »


The news of a Chad – Cameroon Development Pipeline Project came to put a smile on the lips of many Chadians and Cameroonian when it was announced. These two countries and many other countries in the sub region envisaged an economic facelift at the end of the project. Why not, the Project is one of the most giant projects that the African continent has witnessed. This project has as specifications to develop the oil fields found at a place called Doba in southern Chad and to construct a 1,070 km pipeline to offshore oil-loading facilities on Cameroon's Atlantic coast. ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco of the U.S. and Petronas of Malaysia sponsor the project. It is expected to generate an estimated US$2 billion in revenues for Chad and US$500 million for Cameroon over the 25-year production period. All reasoning being equal, this project could therefore significantly transform the economy of Chad and Cameroon towards unimaginable positive trends.
This mammoth project in some bit brings to mind the saga of the Israelites on exodus from Egypt in the Bible. We are told about the manna that fell down from heaven to the hungry and desperate Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. The Chad-Cameroon Pipeline project like wise could be just another kind of manna to both countries that would sustain them through the wilderness of poverty. Given that they are all poverty-stricken, and members of the heavily indebted countries (Chad topping the league in poverty), the project could be a stepping stone to their poverty-alleviation strategies. Unfortunately, in as much as we welcome the project and look up to it with greater expectations, it goes not without its shortcomings. The negative trends of the project would certainly result to serious consequences in the near feature if the right measures are not taken early enough.
According to the World Bank, at the end of the second quarter of 2002, 11,200 workers had been employed by the project. Of this number, about 87% were nationals of Chad and Cameroon; 4,090 from Chad and 5,645 from Cameroon. About 60% of these workers were employed in skilled and semi-skilled jobs. Another 5% were in supervisory positions. Wage payments to Cameroonian and Chadian workers amounted to nearly $6 million and over $4.7 million, respectively.
Statistics as such coupled with its huge economic returns gives the project the grandeur it deserves as a real development project. However, the negative landmarks registered by the ongoing project have made it a necessary evil to both countries. Along the zones covered by the project and where the construction works are actually taking place, the workers earn reasonable salary packages and so there is an extraordinary high spending power. The standard of living is far less than proportionate to the skyrocketing cost of living. For example, the same plate of food that was bought at about 500Fcfa (Less than US$1) before the project began is today sold at 2,000Fcfa (about US$3.5). This holds true for other commodities and basic daily needs that have to be obtained from the local traders who have flooded the area at cut-throat prices thus putting in place an immeasurable but dangerous inflation and making life a little hell especially for the local inhabitants.
This would have been manageable if these troubles ended there. But of all the negative effects moving hand-in-glove with this giant project, the Presence, prevalence, spread and aftermath of HIV/AIDS is certainly the most unwelcoming news and bad kola nuts to chew. HIV/AIDS is unquestionably present and registering a landslide victory in claiming the lives of both workers and the local inhabitants.
It’s a real pathetic situation. Outside the huge number of workers that have come from all ends of the earth (Africa, America, Europe and Asia) to work in the project, there has been an ongoing influx of other migrants into the zone. These people live in the small villages along the stretch of the project thus tremendously swelling the population of these villages. These people coming mostly from Africa notably Central African Republic, the Congo Basin and other areas of Northern Chad and Southern Cameroon end up unemployed. Some resort to small-scale retail business. The very bad ones, resort to stealing and prostitution to meet up with the ever-increasing cost of living. The most dangerous waves of migration into this zone have been that of prostitutes. Most of the women who came in to seek employment ended up as prostitutes and even those who engage in small retail businesses do it mostly as a means of attracting male clients to patronize their filthy sex business. There was a time when the male to female ratio in the zone was 1:3.
An estimated 20% of the men working in the project are married men who left their legal wives and children back home and spend longer periods at the construction sites than with their families. A greater percentage of these men visit the prostitutes on a daily basis. Even those who are living with their wives still find time to visit other women. Some of the men visit more than one prostitute a day. There has thus been an unnoticed but dangerous concentration of the HIV in the area brought in by this influx of migrants especially the growing number of prostitutes who must have had lengthy and unsafe sexual histories in their areas of origin.

 1 2 3 4   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile

Abongta is my name, some people especially writers choose to call me Crystal Brain. I am 28yrs old and a proud Cameroonian, who insists in seeing things in a slightly different perspective. I have a passion for satire thus my artistic works bring out that aspect in me which is most often kept in the catacomb of my being.

The tyrannical society, in which I grew up, shaped me into what I am today. My works especially the paintings serves as a major outlet without which I would better not exist.

Pooja | Apr 4th, 2003
Good article!!

The story above regarding the pipeline prostitution is very disconcerting but true. However, a CATASTROPHY of high degree awaits the general public of Chad/Cameroon when the pipeline is commisioned. The pipeline and support systems are INFERIOR SUB-STANDARD AND UNSAFE and should not be commissioned owing to irregularites and anomalies at design,procuremnt,construction and operation phases. The World Bank have connived and colluded with Exxonmobil to defraud and deceive public funds. Exxonmobil do not give a damn for the local people or the environment, they have compromized every conceivable international regulation in the construction of the pipeline and support system. International health and safety regulations have been consistently compromized. Exxonmobil care about one thing only $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

The emergency shutdown valves on the pipeline are not in accordance with international standards. Exxonmobil have compromized every conceivable regulations for the hydrocarbon industry and the Offshore Floating Storage tanker is an obsolete "rust bucket" Welcome to Exxonmobil cowboy projects . The Chad Cameroon pipeline is a time bomb waiting to go off. The financial institutes funding the project do not give a damn for the general public, i.e COFACE/World Bank/EIB/IFC/ABN-AMRO/EXIM. They have allo got their fingers in the till!!!!

You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.