Officials of the central and external services of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) ended reflections yesterday in Yaounde.
“ Once bitten twice shy,” so goes a famous adage, which now holds sway of Cameroon’s economic situation hunted by double shocks of fall in oil and commodity prices as well as security challenges. The government has learnt her lessons and is now taking measures to further diversify the economy so as to attain economic growth. This is why the annual conference of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) grouping the central and external services of the Ministry has ended in Yaounde with reflections centred on “Accelerating economic diversification for strong and sustainable growth.”
Speaking at the opening of the event on January 29, 2017, the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze stated that Cameroon has to readjust its economy especially with the three-year IMF Extended Credit Facility Programme the country subscribed to. This, he noted, can only be done through the diversification of its economy. It is a truism that Cameroon’s economy as was confirmed by IMF is the most resilient in the CEMAC sub-region due to its diversification which however is not enough. “The morose international economic environment and its negative impact on our economy, today obliges us to reflect on the ways of strong and sustainable growth through a more diversified economy,” said Minister Motaze.
The nefarious effects of the downturn in oil and commodity prices greatly slowed down Cameroon’s economic growth from 4.7 per cent in 2016 to 3.7 per cent in 2017 (according to IMF). For Cameroon to attain its objective of an emergent economy by 2035, it will require at least a 7 per cent growth rate. To realise this therefore, it requires a broad-based diversification of its economy and an enlargement of tax-base to generate more non-petroleum revenue and discard the old dependence on the oil sector. This explains why participants of the MINEPAT annual conference, who are paramount in implementing government policy equally reflected on other strategies to leap forward Cameroon’s economy such as promoting and dynamising exports, promoting structuring sectors and transforming primary products (add value before export), facilitate access to financing as well as promoting private investment. These, according to the experts will serve as shock absorbers for any economic crunch that will show its ugly face while growth will remain sustainable and resilient.