Recent Developments & Prospects
Economic Cooperation, Regional Integration & Trade
Economic & Political Governance
Public Sector Management, Institutions & Reform
Natural Resource Management & Environment
Thematic analysis: Structural transformation and natural resources
Authors: Richard-Antonin Doffonsou, Lisa Simrique Singh, Denis Léopold Tankoua
- Despite the security and humanitarian crisis in the region, Cameroonian growth remains strong at above 5%.
- However, falling oil prices and rising security spending will weigh heavily on the fiscal accounts.
- Decentralisation and inclusion could be used as leverage to restructure the economy and translate the growth into social improvements.
Growth remained strong in 2014 at 5.3%, but remained below the 6% average growth target set in the 2010-20 Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (2010-20 GESP), which aims to incorporate Cameroon into the group of emerging countries by 2035. Cameroon’s economy has been resilient in the face of security and humanitarian crises at the northern borders with Nigeria and the eastern borders with the Central African Republic (CAR) and despite stagnant economies in the OECD countries and a slowdown in growth among the emerging economies. Cameroon’s growth was driven by the secondary sector and a larger supply of energy and agricultural goods. According to projections, growth is set to remain strong in 2015 (5.4%) and 2016 (5.5%) thanks to a diversification policy aimed at developing value chains in agriculture and developing the construction sector and the supply of energy.
In addition to pursuing a moderately expansionary fiscal policy, the authorities have sought to mobilise tax revenue and improve the returns on public expenditure. They have significantly reduced poorly targeted subsidies on petroleum products and made improvements to projects. The 2013-15 budget aims to maintain the existing line of fiscal policy in 2015. However, the drop in oil prices during the second half of 2014 and the additional security and humanitarian expenses resulting from the Nigeria and CAR crises forced the government to introduce proactive fiscal consolidation measures to prevent the deficit from widening.
The 2010-20 GESP provides a framework for territorial development in Cameroon, but translating it into a proactive spatial inclusion policy is taking a long time. Underlying tensions and a sense of exclusion in some regional communities have been heightened by the demographic upheaval brought about by the arrival of refugees from neighbouring countries. In addition, although major infrastructure projects are beneficial in terms of regional planning and development, they place great pressure on arable land and lead to transfers in the ownership of productive capital in rural areas. These shifts greatly threaten Cameroon’s long-standing peace and social cohesion. The areas most concerned are those around the Lom Pangar and Memve’ele dams, the deep-water port in Kribi and the Mbalam iron mines in the East region.
Table 1: Macroeconomic indicators
|Real GDP growth||5.5||5.3||5.4||5.5|
|Real GDP per capita growth||3||2.8||2.9||3|
|Budget balance % GDP||-4.1||-5.2||-6.4||-5.8|
|Current account balance % GDP||-3.8||-4.2||-4.3||-4.5|
Source: Data from domestic authorities; estimates (e) and projections (p) based on authors’ calculations.