5.23.2016

Renewed Commitment To Private Investments

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "«Investing in Cameroon, Land of Attractiveness»"By Richard KWANG, Cameroon Tribune
If the conclusions of the International Economic Conference entitled, «Investing in Cameroon, Land of Attractiveness»  that held in Yaounde from 17-18 May 2016 were anything to go by, then there should be a boom in private initiatives in the economic milieu in the country. The totality of investors, financiers, and the political elite that
participated at the event left with the take-home message that the Head of State had touched the Achilles-heel that held back the much-cherished economic emergence of the country by 2035.
                                           
Combining both “plenary sessions and meetings between project initiators – both public and private – and national and international investors during dedicated workshops” offered a unique opportunity for Cameroon to place all the cards on the table for any interested entrepreneurs to make informed choices about the possibilities for business success in the country. The likes of the Nigerian business magnet and humanitarian, Tony Elumelu, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, who equally held the prestigious post of President of the European Union Commission, José Manuel Barroso and many others present in Yaounde, could not hide their feeling in lauding the idea.
In fact, the Chair of the United Bank for Africa, UBA, Tony Elumelu, went beyond the conference to rule out all skepticism and hesitation by announcing that Cameroon was not only a business destination, but a good one for that matter. His experience, drawn from operating in 19 African countries and having worked in Cameroon since 2008 spoke volumes about the merits of economic resilience and sense of purpose.
The cry over the difficult business climate could have been a long-standing problem faced by many an investor in the country, but Tony Elumelu noted that no matter the obstacles, President Paul Biya had convened the Yaounde Conference at the right time when the economy is doing well and investors had no reasons to fear coming into the country. Of course, the call he made for government to encourage local investors as an indicator to foreign business entrepreneurs could not have been more timely!
 With issues such as energy, agriculture, urban development, and the Information and Communication Technologies brought under scrutiny at the conference, government officials had the chance to present concrete projects that require funding, thereby looking at possibilities for the creation of jobs for the youth. No doubt the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, who represented the Head of State at the closing ceremony, underscored the determination of his cabinet to ensure a close follow-up of the conference resolutions.  The obvious outcome of the event presenting Cameroon as a destination of choice for investors judging from the keen interest demonstrated by the over 700 guests present in Yaounde, could not go unnoticed.
With priority actions after the conference such as; putting in place a light structure to follow on the financing and executing of identified projects, facilitating the obtention of visas for businessmen through formalities digitalization (implementing an online visa process), creating special economic zones, and reinforcement of relations with neighbouring countries, amongst others, the various government services involved must be on the drawing board to ensure that the country meets its own side of the bargain. This means that the State should henceforth accelerate the already existing measures geared at encouraging the private sector to invest in the country so as to foster economic growth.
The growing number of young people keen on taking advantage of the digital economy could, by the conclusions of the Yaounde Conference and the arrival of several viable bankers at the event, lobby for funding to go further in their ambitions and boost local industries. With the greenlight given by the Head of State through the Yaounde gathering, the time for opportunity is definitely now and those who can make hay while the sun shine, would certainly have reasons to reap the dividends.

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