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Another Useful Opportunity

Cameroon is resolutely engaged in its determination to be an emerging economy in the coming years. The countdown to the magic year 2035 has begun in earnest with ground for a number of huge projects already broken. The huge ones include the Kribi gas project as well as the construction of hydro-electricity dams, the best-known for the moment being the Lom Pangar, Memve’ele and Mekin projects which, when completed, should be able to provide enough energy to kick-start industrial activity which is the basis for new-found growth, through job creation. There are also several mining and road construction projects. So are new schools, university and health infrastructure; all aimed at giving an image of an emerging economy as the count-down continues.

This means Cameroon has been transformed into a vast worksite. And when we talk of a worksite, we are talking of a hotchpotch of construction companies at work. We are also talking of investors who, in the new situation, are rushing in to grab opportunities.

And talking of opportunities, there are many for all foreign companies who want to assist the Cameroonian government in its frantic effort to bring the overdue developmental benefit to citizens as the nation marks fifty years of independence and reunification.

President Paul Biya has never reneged on his determination to make Cameroon a country in which it is good to live. In the heart of a looming economic crisis, he went to every corner where one could find investors in the mid 1980s, inviting them to come and take fresh investment opportunities. He clearly stated that Cameroon was not a preserve for anybody.

On the field, this courageous political move has been most manifest as investors from all over the world come to tender for projects. A country like the People’s Republic of China has been particularly active in a number of developmental projects in Cameroon, clearly vindicating this new posture of openness promoted and encouraged by the Head of State. And in so doing, business people have come calling from Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Turkey etc in recent years.

Even the Germans are coming in forcefully. After some high-profile appearances in the 80s, and even as President Biya made his resolve to accept all investors in 1986 from German soil, companies from this friendly country have not been very active in Cameroon since then. But the past week has been particularly significant in re-establishing new Germano-Cameroonian trade links. The highly-qualified Germany-based Cameroonian diaspora organised an information meeting last week in Yaounde and came up with a decision to set up a factory to produce medical consumables with some one million Euros (or FCFA 656 million) handy for the project. Before the Yaounde meeting of the Cameroonian diaspora, a high-level delegation of German businessmen led, significantly, by the German Chancellor’s Angela Merkel’s special representative for Africa, was at State House and discussed with President Biya on ways of exploiting business opportunities.

Cameroon’s developmental needs are such that no genuine partner wishing to do business in Cameroon with a sincere determination to attain an emerging economy status will be turned away. Simple nationalism and economic patriotism informs this government posture. Otherwise, the government will not be working in the interest of its people.

Moreover, Cameroon’s doors remain wide open. With greater democracy, the procedure for public contracts is more open for all to see. The people too can assess the work done by the various contenders.

Ordinary Cameroonians expect their government to adhere strictly to comparative advantages as, with each passing day, good governance requires that transactions are carried out in a glass house. If our country can gain from German experts, then we should not hesitate to accept it because the worksite is big enough for many.


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