To be able to mobilize more investment resources to fund its economy, Cameroon should remove tax and administrative barriers that have in the past led to failure or delays in completion of projects, participants at an investor conference in Yaounde said early this week.
During the two-day Yaounde economic conference that was opened on Tuesday by President Paul Biya, participants urged Cameroon to take necessary measures that will end red tape and promote private investment which is essential for growth.
On several occasions, Biya has expressed anger at excessive bureaucracy in the public service, that has made corruption a “national sport” and the inertia as a way of life.
This, the president has lamented, has ended up blocking achievement of several investment projects that are useful for the country’s development.
In the last few years, a number of foreign delegations have visited Cameroon with an objective of setting up operations, especially in the mining sector.
Many, even after having been reassured by the concerned authorities, have been forced to leave the country without making concrete their investment plans due to bureaucracy.
According to stakeholders, there are always numerous intermediary who make decision-making very difficult.
The investors further urged Cameroonian authorities to hasten the process of obtaining a visa, especially for business people.
In its conclusions, the conference proposed “reinforcement of ties with neighbouring countries, especially Nigeria, to increase its regional market.”
With Nigeria in particular, its second biggest supplier behind China, Cameroon was urged to sign an economic partnership agreement.
The two countries share a border measuring 1,500 kilometers.
In total, the Cameroonian government submitted to its guests 14 projects that are ready for investments. The projects require an investment of 2 billion U.S. dollars.
However, no funding agreement was signed, contrary to what happens during similar meetings organized in other countries.
According to official figures, some 800 investors that include locals as well as those from Europe, the U.S. and Asia were invited at the conference.