Development Polarisation in Limbe and Kribi (Littoral Cameroon): Growth Challenges, Lessons from Douala and Options


Limbe and Kribi respectfully in the Southwest and South Regions of Cameroon have been at the centre of Cameroon’s industrial development since the beginning of the 21st Century. These cities are being called upon to play important economic roles through heavy capital investments in the creation of deep sea ports, fishing, mining and energy production industries, the Chad-Cameroon pipeline terminus in Kribi, the cement factory and the petroleum refinery in Limbe amongst others. These developments are attracting and will continue to pull huge population numbers in these cities for jobs leading to urban growth. It is feared that if appropriate measures are not put in place, these emerging industrial towns located along the coastline of Cameroon will face problems of urban growth that are typical of Douala—the pioneer industrial capital of Cameroon and major nerve centre of the Central African sub Region. The growth challenges that Kribi and Limbe will face as well as lessons to learn from the experiences of Douala constitute the first focal point of this paper. These challenges are enormous and include pollution, crime and urban disorder resulting from uncoordinated transport, haphazard construction of habitats and risk vulnerability that threatens the sustainability of these cities. Decision makers in several Sub Saharan African countries are eager to develop their cities but do fail at the onset to project emerging problems that could stiffen this development process in the long run. Consequently, high cost intervention to combat urban disorder becomes the last option and therapy, when it is too late. The diverse measures put in place to redress the problems created are not only costly to the stakeholders (government, benevolent NGOs and the victims) but are indicators of development failures. This of recent has been typical of Yaounde and Douala, the political and economic capitals, respectively, of the Republic of Cameroon. The second important focal point of this paper examines the possible adverse effects of development polarisation in Limbe and Kribi and how the Douala scenario can be averted.

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Tiafack, O. , Chrétien, N. and Emmanuel, N. (2014) Development Polarisation in Limbe and Kribi (Littoral Cameroon): Growth Challenges, Lessons from Douala and Options. Current Urban Studies, 2, 361-379. doi: 10.4236/cus.2014.24034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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