Cameroon disposes since April 18, 2013 a law on private investment incentives which gives nationals or foreign natural or legal persons, resident or not in Cameroon, conducting business therein or having shares in Cameroonian companies, a wide-range of incentives through which they can develop their businesses and contribute to the economic growth of the country. Several Presidential decrees signed on September 9, now facilitate the applicability of the law, opening the floodgates for improved investment that the country needs for sustained growth.
Investment and Growth
The economic emergence status that Cameroon aspires to attain by 2035 passes through investment that triggers growth. Economic analysts hold that for a country to attain emergence, its investment (public and private put together) must contribute at least 25 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a minimum of three decades going.
In Cameroon, statistics contained in the 2013 Finance Law show that private investment improved by 8.4 per cent in 2012, representing a 19.5 per cent contribution to GDP. 2013-2015 projections show an average of 20.8 per cent contribution of private investment to GDP. Meanwhile, public investment grew by 19.9 per cent, representing 2.8 per cent to GDP. Mathematically, the 19.5 per cent of the private sector and 2.8 per cent of the public sector give 22.3 per cent of investment's contribution to growth.
This falls short of the minimum 25 per cent. Thus, the country's growth rate has been stagnating at barely 5 per cent, below the 5.5 per cent annual growth rate as wished in the 2010-2020 Growth and Employment Strategy Paper and far below the double-digit growth required of a middle-income economy. This also comprises sustainable wealth and job creation, indispensable ingredients to meaningful growth.
The April 18, 2013 law and the accompanying texts of application, give incentives to investors capable of wooing even the most reticent to want to conquer the national market, especially in a country where natural resources are aplenty and political and social stability doubly assured.
Investors or potential ones have always complained of high and numerous taxes and other bottlenecks. Today, the law makes provision for tax, customs and administrative as well as financial incentives. The texts of application specify the mode of operation.
Should investments sprout up in the country commensurate with the good laws in place, then, employment would no longer be a problem and he who creates employment, generates wealth and develops the economy. With it, the situation where almost everybody waits on government for employment and curses the system when it is not forthcoming or worth the salt would be a thing of the past. Only then can embarrassing situations like the recent recruitment of 25,000 certificate holders into the public service wherein over 300,000 people applied, each expecting a place in the sun, would be averted.