5 July 2012

Cameroon: National Investment Strategy in Gestation

Stakeholders met in Yaoundeon Thursday July 4 to launch studies in view of its drafting.

Government, the private sector and civil society organisations are seeking ways of harmonising their actions in view of coming up with a national investment strategy capable of boosting investment, especially direct foreign investment, to give the economy a middle-income status. The Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Emmanuel Bonde, yesterday July 4 during a ceremony organised by Cameroon Investment Promotion Agency (Cameroon -IPA) at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel launched the study to draft the national strategy.

In a speech, Mr Bonde said with a long-term development vision contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper with goals to eradicate poverty to a socially adaptable level, make Cameroon a middle-income and newly industrialised country and in so doing, consolidating democracy and reinforcing unity, there was need to have viable investors to make true these dreams. Like the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Yaouba Abdoulaye, Emmanuel Bonde said, "Our growth strategy is a guide and we need local and direct foreign investments to succeed."

Business people at the event said weak processing of local products, inadequate energy and infrastructure, bad governance, et al, constitute some of the speed brakes to investment. Clearing them as well as striving to live up to the competitiveness of the global economy, they agreed, could signal a start to the end of our not-so-good investment climate. "The spotlight is in Africa, people truly believe that the time for Africa has come. It is important for Cameroon to understand the context under which it wants to push forward its development. The game has started and it is important for Cameroon to understand that there is enormous competition going on and all the countries are struggling to attract as much direct foreign investment as possible. You might think that you have the best of investment opportunities in the world but if you do not package them well, they remain just potentials. Investors do not have time to waste. They are out to make money and so are looking for something they can harvest as quickly as possible with as little risk as possible as well as with the highest returns. I think we need to make our country and potentials attractive to investors," Ekoko Mukete, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Crafts, told Cameroon Tribune.

To Marthe Angeline Minja, General Manger of Cameroon-IPA, all the actors will harmonise their actions to come up with a national strategy. Impediments to investment, she said, are already known, and what is needed now is the government's policy. "The strategy upon completion will be endorsed by government after which it would become a vision to give our country the investment it needs," Mrs Minja noted.

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