Industrialisation:Private Sector’s Indispensable Role

The development of Cameroon’s industrial sector cannot be achieved by the government alone without the inextricable role of the private sector. 

Cameroon is indisputably the largest and most diversified economy in the Central African sub-region but still relies on agriculture and oil revenue to support growth. The secondary sector (industrial) only contributes about 6 per cent to the country’s GDP despite enormous agricultural, forestry, mineral and touristic resources the country is endowed with. The newly designed Industrial Masterplan, envisages an exponential increase to 24 per cent contribution to GDP if only 40 per cent of the country’s resources are transformed locally. This envisaged industrial takeoff will not be a reality without the involvement of the private sector which plays a preponderant role in its development and eventual boom. The private sector is a veritable agent of industrial revolution in every economy. In Cameroon, the private industrialists grouped under various associations 
prominent amongst which is Cameroon’s Employers Association (GICAM) are working in synergy with the government for a vibrant industrial sector. GICAM for instance has been holding a series of symposiums to reflect and propose ways of improving Cameroon’s industrial sector. One of such conferences organised way back in 
2013 had as theme “Can would emergence be possible without the protection of the local industries”? Proposals made by the Employers association which are still valid today included the upgrading of capacities of local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) for them to be competitive and reinforcing public-private partnership 
amongst others. GICAM, it should be noted, has also been vocal in advising government on issues concerning fiscal policy and custom duties in a bid to protect the local industry. The upcoming International Trade Fair dubbed PROMOTE to run from February 16-24 is building a synergy to boost Cameroon’s industry. In partnership 
with GICAM, the organisers (Inter-Progress) have programmed an “Industrial ¨Pavilion” at the trade fair site with the objectives of showcasing Cameroon’s industrial savoir-faire. Apart from just exhibiting the know-how, an international colloquium is scheduled to hold on February 21 on the theme “Synergies for Industrial boom of Cameroon and the Central Africa sub-region.” The colloquium according to PROMOTE organisers will serve as a platform for brainstorming on improving the business climate and sustainable development, contribute in creating a conducive environment for investment and private initiatives, stimulate innovations, encourage economic diversification from traditional sectors to more value added products and services as well as improve competitiveness. Conscious of the slow pace of industrialisation in Cameroon, the government has designed the Industrial Master Plan which encompasses all sectors of industry and identifies actors including the private sector.

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