Decades ago, going around all the divisions of the North West Region was more than an uphill task. Anyone making the journey from Bamenda needed a four-wheel-drive-enabled vehicle to navigate through the hills and valleys of the various divisions from Mezam, cutting through Ngokentunjia, Ndonga-Mantung and going around the Boyo to get to Menchum division.
To make things easier and better the living conditions of citizens living in the region by providing a conducive road network that makes transportation of goods and services easy, government came up with The Ring Road Project; a 367 Km circle-like road that links the entire region together was to be tarred. The project was divided into four sections namely Ndop-Kumbo (60.5 Km), Kumbo-Nkambe (66 Km), Nkambe-Wum (110 Km), Wum-Bamenda (81 Km).
The entire region jumped to the idea and waited impatiently for it to become a reality. Patches of the road were tarred since President Biya’s 1991 visit to the North West region but the road had remained a badly maintained dirt road
Progress dwindled on until President Paul Biya took the commitment to personally supervise the project. It was during the celebration of the golden jubilee of the Cameroon armed forces in Bamenda. On December 8, 2010 that he took the decision. He said, “With regard to the ring road which I know the importance for the local economy, know that negotiations are continuing with big companies for the total rehabilitation of this road.” Since his decision to be personally involved, the construction of the road has been fast tracked with citizens already reaping its benefits.
It took only a few days after the announcement, for contracts to be awarded to Sogea Satom road Construction Company and ECTA BTP Sarl for works on the stretches of the road. Although the Head of State talked about rehabilitation of the road, he had envisaged its eventual construction.
Some FCFA 20 billion-8 billion from the 2011 Public Investment Budget (BIP) was set aside for works on the ring road while government contracted loans that totaled FCFA 12 billion for the project. By August 2017 the stretch from Ndop in Ngoketunjia to Kumbo in Bui Divisions was already near completion.
A publication of the national bilingual daily newspaper of May 9, 2018 showed how life has changed for the better for the people of Nkoketunjia. It showed that like in other subdivisions that harbor already tarred stretches of the road; many dwellers have set up numerous small shops and other businesses on the sides of the road. The people of Babessi, Baba I and Babungo subdivisions of Nkoketunjia division acknowledged the Ring Road has given them a free push in social and economic life.
The road opens up market links to the country’s largest tea farm and factory in Ndu sub-division and a vast oil palm production basin in the Mboh plain. It also revives hope for the country’s second largest cattle producers after the Adamawa; a dairy and beef processing industry in the region that was failing to develop because of transportation difficulties. Tourist potentials like the Menchum fall and the magestic rocks in Ndop will eventually be exploited with ease.