Economy : From Resilience To Recovery

Cameroon’s economy specifically in 2020 put up stiff resilience against the security crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic and a solid base has been laid for recovery.

The Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic in the 65th issue of its news magazine, “Le Temps des Opportunités” has published special pages with Cameroon’s economy featuring prominently. Focus here is on the context and efforts made by government under the able leadership of President Paul Biya to consolidate economic resilience and engage in recovery.

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The country’s economy in 2020 faced major security, health and economic challenges. Despite the security challenges in the North West, South West and Far North Regions, 2020 started with a positive macroeconomic outlook with growth estimated at 4 per cent. Then came the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 with disastrous economic consequences. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) project the Cameroonian economy to decline by -3.5 per cent compared with growth initially estimated at 3.8 per cent. There was also a fall in import and exports as all foreign trade activity having contracted by 16 per cent in the first half of 2020. In the productive system, estimates by the Cameroon Employers’ Association (GICAM) showed that in the second quarter of 2020 the shock affected 96.6 per cent of units. 

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Resilience At Work

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Cameroon has cushioned the health and economic shocks through the bold and proactive measures prescribed by President Paul Biya through the Government’s COVID-19 Response Strategy. The country’s economy suffered a decline of only -2.6 per cent in real terms contrary to the estimates projected by the IMF. The decline rate, according to the publication, is the best performance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inflation on its part has been contained at 2.4 per cent below the sub-regional convergence threshold of 3 per cent. In the face of the pandemic, Cameroon has remained credible among investors. The implementation of structuring and community projects have not been impeded, reconstruction of crisis-affected North West and South West Regions have continued and preparatory works  intensified for the organisation of  the African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2021 and the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2022.

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Path To Recovery

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President Paul Biya in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic prescribed a series of forward-looking measures grouped under budgetary provisions, favour of enterprises and social sectors. He set up the Special National Solidarity Fund to deal with the shocks of the pandemic. The total amount of FCFA 180 billion contributed into the fund was re-injected into the economy with 27 per cent as investment and 73 per cent as operating resources.  Local enterprises also benefitted from financial support through the allocation of FCFA 50 billion for the payment of domestic debt. To develop quality human resources, the State has allocated additional resources of over FCFA 19 billion for the educational sector.

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Government has equally adopted a new national policy reference framework, called the “2020-2030 National Development Strategy” (SND30) which underscores the need to foster social cohesion and shared prosperity through collective effort and the drive towards national solidarity. International institutions such as the IMF and World Bank project the Cameroonian economy will pick up in 2021 to stand at between 3.3 per cent and 4 per cent. The State budget for the 2021 financial year that is based on a 3.3 per cent growth forecast has focused on priorities such as security, health, economic resilience and recovery. To achieve economic recovery, the publication has prescribed strengthened infrastructure and private sector development, good governance and human capital adapted to the configuration of the economy. 

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