Central Africa’s biggest economy, Cameroon plans to spend $1.75bn to boost the economy
Cameroon currently enjoys the bragging rights to be the biggest economy in Central Africa, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Critics say the country is not living up to its full potential as a result of poor infrastructure and government’s inability to put up coherent strategies for growth. The country is also suffering from chronic power shortages, poor roads and transport system which makes it far from a conducive business environment; especially businesses dealing in cocoa, timber and coffee production.
President Paul Biya held his first cabinet meeting in the last two years last Tuesday, and top on the agenda was the measures the government is putting in place to revamp the economy. The resolution made at the meeting included a 3-year program that will see the government spend 925 billion CFA francs ($1.75 billion) in a bid to revamp the domestic economy.
The bulk of Cameroon’s exports comprise of oil and cocoa products, and both industries have registered considerable growth in the last decade. The new move by the government is believed will take these industries to a new higher level of operations.
The country’s political opposition has been quoted on several occasions referring to the long-serving President Biya as an “absentee president”. Cameroon’s president has been taking frequent and long holidays, which have not been taken kindly by the country’s opposition.
President Biya said the emergency program will be as a complement to the country’s current budgeted spending. “The emergency plan is a special program of measure and projects aimed at meeting the immediate needs of the population”.
The country’s Prime Minister Philemon Yang added that the 3-year program spending program will be directed towards infrastructure, agriculture, health, security and energy.
Yang said, “The special program, evaluated at 925 billion CFA francs, is financed through the mobilization of the required resources from local and international financial institutions at sustainable rates.”
The government of Cameroon forecasts an economic growth of 5.8 percent by the end of this year, and that this will be accelerated to 6.3 percent come next year. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave its forecasts as being 5.1 percent for 2014 and 5.2 percent for the year 2015.