Cameroon: Regional Development Plans - Master Plans Still Awaited

The Regional Development Plan is the vital tool for preparing the budgets of Regional Authorities but most Regions are still in the process of their elaboration.

Within a month and a half, it will be exactly one year since the pioneer Regional Councillors were elected in Cameroon on December 6, 2020. During the ordinary session as of right that took place on December 22, 2020, the pioneer permanent Regional Council executives were elected, setting the ball for the Regions as local authorities to get into action.

The Regions as enshrined in the Constitution of 1996 have the mission to promote and consolidate economic and social progress through the harmonious, balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of the regional territory and optimise the exercise of the transferred powers. All these have to be achieved through well elaborated Regional Development Plans.

As at now, the regions are still elaborating their respective Regional Development Plans. The Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam recently presided at the session for the elaboration of the Development Plan for the South Region and another session for the Development Plans of the three Northern Regions that include the Adamawa, North and Far North Regions.

Regional Councils are still at the level of preparing their respective Regional Development Plans at the moment they ought to use the plans to prepare their budgets for the 2022 fiscal year. The Minister of Finance Louis Paul Motaze and the Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam on October 7, 2021 signed the Joint circular letter No.004211/LC/MINFI/MINDDEVEL of 07 October 2021 relating to the preparation of the budgets of Regional and Local Authorities for the 2022 fiscal year. On the chapter of investment expenditure, the circular letter stated that, "Concerning the Regions, pending the adoption of the Regional Development Plans, the investment projects to be entered in the budget must meet the needs for harmonious, balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of the territory."

The investment projects to be contained in the expected budgets of the Regions for the 2022 fiscal ought to have been selected from the Regional Development Plans with specific priorities that meet the development needs of the population.

The Presidents of Regional Councils in this focus explain the delay in the elaboration of the Regional Development Plans. The President of the North West Regional Assembly, Prof. Fru Angwafo III for example stated that the development plan for the region was sourced to partners who will deliver it in November, though they are working in collaboration. Whatever the explanation, the place of Regional Development Plans remain central for Regions as local authorities to effectively carry out the development missions.

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