8 February 2011

Cameroon: Growth and Employment Strategy Paper Under Scrutiny

The country's 10-year development plan, contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper launched over a year ago, is expected to receive fresh impetus from this year and possibly start showing tangible results on the ground.

Officials of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), from within and without the central service, are scanning better implementation mechanisms that could be used to transform the economy from the one of near-total dependence on the outside world to one that can produce what it consumes and consumes what it produces en route towards the government's vision to catapult the economy to an emerging one by 2035.

This is within the framework of the two-day annual conference of officials of central and external services of MINEPAT that went underway at the Yaounde Conference Centre yesterday February 8, 2011.

Holding under the theme, "Growth and Employment Strategy: Implementation tools", MINEPAT officials are using the meeting to among others, examine the path covered with the strategy paper and seek better ways of attaining desired results.

Speaking during the ceremony MINEPAT boss, Louis Paul Motaze, said as a strategy developer of the country's growth, MINEPAT could not but strive for excellence especially as the country is still coming out from the 2008-2009 global economic meltdown that left no economy indifferent.

He said with the increase in the country's growth rate from 1.9 per cent in 2009 to 3 per cent in 2010, inflation rate which reduced from 5.3 per cent in 2008, to 3 per cent in 2009 and 1.3 per cent in 2010 as well as strides on the World Bank's Doing Business classification table, there was reason to hope. Hope, he said, that could be rekindled with growth-enhanced strategies.

"We are putting in place conditions for our growth and employment strategy. There were some prerequisites, one of which was energy. The solution to this problem is being put in place steadily", Mr Motaze said.

He cited giant energy projects like the Lom Pangar, Mekin and Memve'ele dams whose takeoff, he said, is imminent. "However, the challenge remains to go deep into the reforms. We have some important reforms we are trying to put in place.

These, among others, include our relations with the private sector which is very important", the Minister said, adding that, "We have so many projects and we think that when they must have gone operational, things will change rapidly".

The results, Louis Paul Motaze, like the participants agreed, will obviously be the creation of jobs because "all what we are doing is aimed at boosting growth and job creation".

The minister however decried speed brakes like the disturbing low consumption of investment budget, continual importation of even food items that the country has potentials to produce aplenty, and the snail-pace putting in place of giant agricultural projects that could bail the country out of the dependence.

He challenged his collaborators to join hands so that together, they can reflect on attaining the objectives of the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper. These, among others, include taking the country's growth rate to an average of 5.5 per cent during the period 2010 -2020, downsize under employment from 75.8 per cent to less than 50 per cent in 2020, monetary hardship from 39.9 per cent to less than 28 per cent as well as attain wholly the Millennium Development Goals.

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