where did the Cameroon business forum go?

In February 2022, the business climate in Cameroon was at the center of a debate between actors in the private sector and certain members of the government. Organized by the European Union as part of the Promote Show, these exchanges allowed the various actors present to put their finger on the problems that disrupt doing business. In conclusion, the participants agreed to meet for the next Cameroon Business Forum, which was then announced to be held in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, 5 months later, we still have no indication of a possible organization of this public-private dialogue mechanism created to work to improve the business climate.

The main actors normally involved in the organization of CBF, which are the employers and the government, are conspicuous by a disturbing silence. On the side of the Interpatronal Grouping of Cameroon (GICAM), we seem rather concerned about issues related to Emmanuel Macron’s last visit to Cameroon. In particular, the consequences of the meeting between the French president and the private sector in Cameroon. “We are writing to the President of the Republic, to President Macron and to many other people. We are focused on the fact that… what happened in Yaoundé (meeting between the French President and the actors of the private sector in Cameroon), there is a whole series of urgent follow-up measures to be done so we are on it” indicated a Gicam official contacted by EcoMatin.

Also read: Cameroon business forum, CSU, inflation, energy deficit: pressing issues after CAN

At the government level, the last public and solemn call for the Cameroon Business Forum dates back to February 2022. Professor Alexandre Schouame in the service of the Department of Economy, Forecasting, Budget and Finance of the Prime Minister’s Services, let it be known at this time that the government took time to do things the right way. “No one prevented the Cameroon Business Forum from taking place. There was a date but there were circumstances that prevented the CBF from taking place. It is being planned after CAN 2021. So we are following the schedule. Promote is happening, we are going to do business, while there is Promote? The following week the Norwegian Parliament meets. Can we do it then? We must allow the agenda to resume and not rush too much,” he said.

The mystery surrounding the organization of the 12th edition of the Cameroon Business Forum seems to have a direct link with the almost permanent tensions that characterize public-private dialogue in Cameroon. The latter was highlighted in December 2021 with the withdrawal of Gicam, who declined an invitation from the General Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Services, who requested his presence at this event. Célestin Tawamba, the president of this employers’ organization, also took care to justify this refusal by identifying several aspects of the process related to the organization of the CBF, which he and the organization he leads did not appreciate. . These include in particular the points to be discussed, the date of the event, which was not the subject of consensus, or the definition of the objectives of the 2021 session.

Read also: Public-private dialogue: Cameroon Business Forum 2021 postponed

We might as well mention that Gicam’s plea to improve the organization of this meeting was not taken into account to explain the delay incurred by the organizers of the CBF. Specifically, Gicam proposes that a Cameroon Business Council (CBC), a new permanent framework for high-level consultation between the state and the private sector, be born out of the ashes of the CBF. It should be an innovative and effective public/private dialogue structure, placed under the authority of the head of government”, explains a source close to Gicam. It will be a bipartite institution headed by the Prime Minister and whose president will be the vice-chairman of Gicam. These proposals date from 2021 and for now we are waiting for the start of their implementation.

Also read: Cameroon Business Forum 2021: Gicam declines the government’s invitation

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