9.18.2014

Tackle Business Climate Wholly to Attract Sustainable Investments

By Godlove BAINKONG, Cameroon Tribune
State-of-the art infrastructure coupled with the mouth-watery incentives equal good business.
If fast-tracking private investment in Cameroon were only limited to the legal instruments, then the country could now beat its chest with the innovative and revolutionary law No. 2013/004 of 18 April 2013 that provides incentives for private investments in the Republic of Cameroon. Besides having already its respective texts of application
and a seeming unison of all stakeholders to make it succeed, the law is already bearing fruits. The recent signing of license agreements between government and some 13 companies lends credence to this. But viable and sustainable investment, especially direct foreign investments, demands a combination of factors to improve the business climate. 
Infrastructure
To say the least, Cameroon is not in good shape infrastructure wise. Reports say of the over 50,000 km of its roads, barely 10 per cent of it is paved. Some of the paved segments are either poorly done or are already fast degrading, thus compromising smooth circulation on it, especially with certain investments that warrant constant mobility. Improving on the quantity and quality of roads, enlarging those with national characters to avert scary accidents, can be a good step in a right direction.  Again, the country’s rail infrastructure does not cut across the entire nation. There is a national master plan for a veritable rail infrastructure development in the country which is still a project yearning for financing. Heavy investments especially in the mining sector demands good transport infrastructure, preferably rail, and the absence of it can be a serious drawback to investors, mouth-watery investment incentives notwithstanding. There is also need to develop air transport, especially boosting internal flights, so as to give potential investors a wide-range of options for movement within and without the country. Constant and quality energy and water supply would not be the least of things to improve.
Facilitate Loan Acquisition
Getting loans in the country to expand business is said to be plagued by long and complicated procedures which most often discouraged many from venturing. The loan-acquisition procedures, analysts say, are tighter owing to rampant non-loan refund which often sends banks and micro-finance institutions into devastating bankruptcy. Had it been the country had a bank or banks for specific businesses like those of small and medium-size enterprises and agriculture that are yet to go fully operational, timely and sustainable loans could give a push to sustainable investments needed to move the economy towards emergence.
Combining the enthusiasm in attracting investors with developing the infrastructure that the investors badly need to develop mutually-beneficial businesses could produce the magic wand to revamp the country’s economy and migrate from the hitherto stagnation in growth. The absence of which would greatly stall the many moves already undertaken to improve on private sector investment in the country which are not only time-consuming but as well draining scarce liquidity which could otherwise be used in other productive sector.

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