The Cameroon Anglophone Crisis could deter the country from emerging by 2035.
According to high-quality research conducted by Economic Emergence Institute, the research unit of the non-profit making organisation, Friends of Emergence Initiatives, pointed out that it would be impossible for Cameroon to experience an accelerated achievable emergence by 2035.
The research paper pointed out that, for Cameroon to attain emergence, policymakers should prioritise addressing, on time, the socio-political situation which has destabilised the growth of the small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, sector in Cameroon that represents some 95 per cent of the country’s economic fabric.
Citing the Southwest Region that harbours the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, the country’s second-largest employer after the State and SMEs in the restive areas are, by far, the largest employers.
It is obvious that if SMEs that contribute up to 30 per cent of Cameroon’s Government taxes revenue declines due to the ongoing crisis, taxes revenue would be affected. If the situation continues, the country might be dragged into an economic crisis in a long period.
However, according to the report; addressing the crisis, putting measures that would help settle the internally displaced SMEs owners, converting informal SMEs to formal and providing adequate finance to SMEs, will help revenue contributed by SMEs double from 30 per cent to 60 per cent.
This would help Cameroon to achieve an accelerated emergence by 2030, five years short of the expected date of 2035 outlined in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, GESP, by IMF and the Government of Cameroon, which Cameroon endorsed to implement in 2010.
The paper proposed that SMEs in the Cameroon`s restive areas (Northwest and Southwest Region) can better be assured of access to finance to re-establish, stabilise and grow their businesses with the opening of branches in the areas by the Banque Camerounaise des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (BC-PME) – a proposal that falls in line with the bank’s objective of becoming the national SMEs banking leader by 2022.
This objective can only be realised with a network of branches in areas with high SMEs concentration. The Northwest and Southwest Regions are within the top five Regions in Cameroon with a high level of SMEs.
The crisis has played its part in reducing the number with the evident situation of the displaced population for their life saving, yet the number of SMEs is attractive to invest in a national bank.
These actions would calm situations and gradually return activities to normal in these areas, according to Maurice Nso, the CEO of Friends of Emergence Initiatives, and fast-track Cameroon`s attainment of emergence by 2035.
Should the Government delay in addressing the nation`s socio-political crisis, taxes contribution from SMEs would string, economic advancement would be retarded, and with market instability, it would be difficult to emerge faster.