MAIN MESSAGES FOR CAMEROON’s VNR 2019
In Cameroon, SDGs are implemented against the backdrop of an update of development policies and strategies resulting in the facilitation of their integration. In addition, for the conclusion of an economic and financial programme with the IMF, an interim development strategy has been prepared, taking into account the contextualized SDGs. On the security front, the country is since 2014 facing repeated attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the Northern part of the country, and the flow of Central African refugees in the East region, and since 2017 an internal crisis in the North-West and South-West region. All these factors which affect the capacity of mobilization of domestic resources have a negative impact on the achievement of SDGs. Despite these difficulties, some strides have been made in the implementation of Agenda 2030.
In the area of education, despite the high increase in student enrolment, significant progress has been made with regard to access expansion and reduction of disparities and girl/child ratio. A new education sector strategy aligned with SDG 4 is under preparation. However, poor effectiveness and low retention stand as impediments to the achievement of the principle of universal education. In the higher education sector, the challenge remains the development of professionally-oriented fields. The standards of education are affected by qualitative and quantitative inadequacy in the required infrastructure and insufficiency of teachers.
Concerning economic growth, it has slowed down and stood at 3.5 per cent in 2017 (against 4.5 per cent in 2016 and 5.2% in 2015), basically as a result of the drop by 17 per cent in oil production. In the mid-term, prospects remain positive after the revival of 2018 (3.8 per cent) and a projection of 4.4 per cent in 2019 and 5 per cent in the medium-term. However, these achievements and growth prospects are largely below the 7 per cent required to achieve the goals expected in terms of sustainable development. The government is therefore planning to strengthen the conditions that will enable the private sector to take the relay from public investment to drive growth, through the promotion of greater diversification of our economy.
Reducing inequalities remains a major challenge. The Gini index has moved from 39 per cent in 2007 to 44 per cent in 2014, thus materializing an increase of inequalities, with the phenomenon more acute in rural areas. The incidence of poverty has dropped slightly, moving from 39.9 per cent in 2007 to 37.5 per cent in 2014. However, the level of poverty varies significantly across the regions, with the Far-North region recording the highest rate. In order to reduce inequalities and precariousness, extension of the coverage of social protection measures and improvement of the effectiveness of distribution policies are envisaged.
As concerns the fight against climate change, the country has ratified the Paris Agreement and prepared its national REDD+ strategy and is striving to reduce emissions by 32 per cent. Also, climate change is being mainstreamed in the Agricultural Investment Plan. However, the major constraints remain the financing of alternative activities to deforestation, the main factor for the emission of greenhouse gases, and the ability to produce data on the environment.
The quality of policies and institutions has improved considerably since 2016 in accordance with the CPIA indicators of the World Bank. However, the score concerning the Mo Ibrahim indicator has moved from 4.68/10 in 2007 to 4.40/10 in 2016, thus translating a deterioration of the quality of governance. Although the main challenges remain the acceleration of decentralization and improvement of the security situation in some regions of the country, there is a drop in serious crime.
To ensure the effective mobilization of resources and partnership, the country has as ambition, after an assessment of development funding, to increase the mobilization of domestic resources by widening the tax base, revitalize South-South and triangular cooperation, strengthen the mobilization of private sector resources and implement mechanisms for the mobilization of innovative financing.
Key factors to the success of the implementation of SDGs include: (i) their inclusion in the budget; and (ii) the enhancement of the statistical mechanism for the follow-up of progress made.