Project: Urban Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy: City of Douala and its Greater Urban Area
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and home to nearly 20 per cent of the country’s population of 19 million. It is also Cameroon’s economic hub, with an international airport and one of the biggest ports along the Atlantic coast of Africa.
Despite its immense potential, Douala faces some basic challenges that stunt its economic growth and prevent it from assuming a more influential role in the region. These include poverty, unemployment, crime, lack of basic infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation, roads and electricity. The city lacks the financial resources to cope with these multiple challenges. Combined with rapid and unplanned urbanisation, these factors contribute to the proliferation of slums. In 2003, Cameroon adopted a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) that focused on economic diversification, infrastructure development and good governance.
Recognising that unplanned urbanisation was damaging its cities and the rest of the country, the Cameroon PRSP laid out its government’s urban poverty reduction strategy:
“The government of Cameroon is well aware of the extent of the problems and is in the process of drawing an integrated urban development policy. Its objectives are to: (i) improve the living conditions of urban dwellers, a majority of who live under precarious conditions; and (ii) reinforce the economic role of towns by strengthening urban infrastructures.”