NDS30 enacted a number of reforms to be implemented by the State in order to enable the creators of wealth to fully play its role in steering economic development.
The role of the private sector in NDS30 is one of main driver of eco- nomic development. To successfully play this role, Government laid down guidelines both at the level of the structural transformation of the economy and economic and financial governance as well as the transformation of the financial system’’.
This assertion by Paulin Mendo, Head of the Economic Analysis Unit at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), reveals the expectations that the Government of Cameroon has in the private sector to ensure successful NDS30 implementation during the current decade.
This entails that the success of NDS30 implementation is closely linked to the involvement of the private sector. ‘‘The strategy is built by placing the private sector at the heart of the process. For example, on the aspect pertaining to structural transformation of the economy, nine key sectors were shortlisted in line with the Industrialization Master Plan (IMP). ‘‘Enterprises constitute the backbone of these different sectors’’, the financial engineer Babissakana corroborates.
For instance, achieving the economic growth objectives projected by the new strategy require increased investments in the productive sector for which the private sector is the main stakeholder.
In more detail, as official sources hold, this increase in investments is expected to average around 11.4% annually between 2021 and 2030 under the Vision scenario, as compared to 7.6% under the Reference scenario.
‘‘This development will be mainly driven by private in- vestments, whose growth over the period is estimated at nearly 12%. In GDP percentage, overall investment is expected to be around 25.2% in 2025 and to continue rising gradually to reach nearly 29% in 2030, that is, an increase of nearly 4 points compared to the level assumed in the Reference scenario’’, the NDS30 underscores.
Thus, to enable such developments in investments of businessmen (+12% over a ten-year period), on the heels of the huge investments made by the State in the infrastructural sector over the past few years (dams, bridges, port, water supply projects, etc.), it is important for public authorities to provide further support through reforms aimed notably at triggering business development.
From this viewpoint, in addition to the 2013 law (revised in 2017) on private investment incentives in the Republic of Cameroon, NDS30 advocates for additional reforms.
Concretely, it entails ‘‘building a renovated system of incentives to business development (investments and exports), by combining the categories of instruments generally accepted internationally; gradually forming a critical mass of ‘‘national champions’’, representing flagships or leaders in various industrial pillars as well as in the financial sector; creating and setting up specialized bodies in accordance with the pro- visions of the Investment Charter on the pro- motion of private initiative and reform the economic chambers to make them more efficient; devising mechanisms for performance monitoring and evaluation of companies benefitting from incentives and taking corrective measures against any observed slippage’’.
Thus, beyond these actions linked to the structural transformation of the economy, the new strategy proposes measures related to financial and economic governance. Here, it mainly entails ‘‘reducing the costs of factor and procedures linked to land availability; improving on the mobilization of domestic savings to finance the private sector; lifting the main obstacles that impede the development of public-private partnerships; promoting the use of local materials, especially through public procurements…’’ According to expert opinion, these public procurements should also take national preference into account.
Brice R. Mbodiam
Collaboration : The role of civil society organizations and the scientific community
In Cameroon, the popularization of research findings remains the weak link in this area. Researchers, by their own admission, feel left behind when it comes to the country’s development initiatives whereas their research results can at times change vast segments of the society and local economy only if their works were taken more seriously. The lack of a real bridge between the scientific community, decision makers and other businessmen deprives Cameroon of a major link in the development chain.
From this viewpoint, NDS30 seems to be an initiative likely to sound the alarm-bell of the renaissance of a committed scientific community resolutely geared towards searching for solutions to problems hindering Cameroon’s socio-economic development. To this end, in addition to being listened to, researchers will enjoy some facilities enacted in NDS30. ‘‘In order to improve the contribution of research to the country’s development, Government plans to set up a National Innovation System; pool the infrastructural and scientific capacities of research centres and universities by ensuring the upgrading of technical platforms; create a mechanism for sustainable financing of research in all sectors; define a strategy for international partnerships to capture technologies and knowledge that would have significant added value for the country’s development’’, official sources hold.
In the same light, civil society organizations, the watchdog of non-partisan interests, should constantly be on the alert, to the effect of ensuring that the promises made within the framework of NDS30 are kept, or that obstacles to the successful implementation of the new national development strategy are effectively removed. Over the past few years, actions of the public governance component in monitoring projects included in the Public Investment Budget (PIB) have clearly highlighted the importance civil society organizations now have in the efficient management of State affairs.