The Douala Consensus, a call by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for the rapid diversification and industrialization of economies of Central African countries, continues to stimulate reflection and action by planners from the countries of the subregion. This is the particular case of Cameroon, which has just benefited from a consultation with ECA to update its forecasting, projection and simulation models for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Director General of the Economy and Public Investments Programming at Cameroon's Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT, in French) - Mr. Isaac Tamba recalled the relevance of this Consensus which has encouraged his country to further diversify its economy vertically and horizontally in order to strengthen its resilience to external economic shocks.
Speaking at a just-ended workshop on forecasting, projection and simulation models for economic diversification in Cameroon, organized by ECA, Mr. Tamba said "This is an imperative which, from our vantage point, will help us to better calibrate the dialogue we have having with our partners on Cameroon's very own concerns."
"Beyond the fact that we will all be equipped with formulas and even attitudes that allow us to improve the effectiveness of our development policies, because they will be more evidence-based, up-to-date models will enable us to stay on course with regards to our long-term goals of becoming an emerging country," he added.
During the workshop, about forty participants, including experts in economic modeling tools from Cameroon, accompanied by their counterparts from other countries of Central Africa, learned that "African and Central African countries must make every effort to strengthen the process of structural transformation of their economies, in order to generate strong and sustained growth, that results in decent jobs and the wellbeing of all."
These were the words of Mr. Antonio Pedro, Director of the Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa of ECA, who stressed the need for Cameroon to break with "increased dependence on the export of unprocessed products, towards an economic diversification of quality. "
According to Mr. Pedro, "I am talking of quality here because an economy like Cameroon, for example, is already very diversified ... [but] we need a more vertical diversification, with the production of more sophisticated and complex goods and services, with higher technological inputs."
This speaks to the relevance of the workshop, which aimed to support Cameroon to acquire "the best tools to give it much needed latitude for the kind of budgetary adjustments needed to promote its long-term development objectives."
The just-ended consultations allowed planners in Cameroon to identify the shortcomings of existing models with a view to improving them.