13 February 2018

Cameroon: Seeds of Emergence

2035 is closing up. Only 17 years are left for Cameroon to hit the magic year. The Head of State, President Paul Biya is quite aware and knows that the time is running out. This explains why in all his speeches to the nation, he recalls the projects already put in place and those earmarked to hit the target. In some cases, he tries to measure the milestone covered in the implementation of these projects.

The reason for the constant reminder is simple; as the saying goes, we don't feed the fowl only on the market day. It will be wrong to think that all that it takes to reach emergence will only take place in 2035.

In fact, failing to prepare for the due date is preparing to fail when the time comes. It will be a shame for the country not to count its successes when the time comes in terms of well developed road infrastructure, elaborate electricity and water supply in our cities and rural areas, substantial reduction in poverty, high rate of employment, well developed educational system, modernised agriculture and industrial development.

An emerging country, it should be recalled, is one whose economy is said to be progressing toward becoming more advanced and characterised by rapid growth and industrialization. Specialists describe a country with an emerging economy or market as one that has some characteristics of a developed market, but does not meet standards to be a developed market. This, in effect, is what Cameroon should be by 2035.

To President Paul Biya, it will require a lot of effort to reach there. In his address to the youth last Saturday, February, 10, he streamlined some of the things that are already put in place to get the machine working. " a series of projects known as second-generation projects have been launched or are in the pipeline. They concern energy generation, new road transport infrastructure and especially the extension of our railroad network to N'Djamena and Limbe.

We will then have to devise an ambitious social housing strategy commensurate with our needs", he said. It takes a whole package of activities to begin to dream of attaining emergence. Some of them are readily engraved in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper [GESP] and the three-year special youth plan which since its inception last year, has prioritized youth access to agriculture, industry, handicrafts, the digital economy and innovation and which nearly 500,000 youths have already registered with the National Youth Observatory to participate." As funding has already been secured, its implementation will be accelerated in 2018 ", President Biya assured.

The GESP-based programme is a veritable trump card. Launched in 2010, the national Growth and Employment Strategy, outlines the country's investment programme to boost economic growth between 2010-2020. According to the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), investments in infrastructure, technology and farm inputs will modernize and increase productivity of the rural sector in order to meet the food needs of the growing population and develop agro-business.

As the Head of State regretted in his speech, although growth "slowed down due to exogenous factors, we continued forging ahead in various sectors of our development." The year 2018, he assured, will mark the completion of major first-generation projects such as: the hydroelectric dams that will soon be supplemented by power transmission infrastructure; road projects such as Douala City's east and west entryways, the second bridge over the Wouri River, various highways and the motorways under construction.

That notwithstanding, for now much can be said when it comes to energy development especially with the medley of hydroelectric projects that are already at the verge of completion and the ones in the pipeline. In almost all the regions of the country, there is talk of a road project either in the pipeline or under execution. These and many other projects are the real seeds government is planting waiting for the harvest to be bounty when 2035 comes.

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