2023 Cameroon Government’s priorities: H.E, Paul Biya, the Head of State charts the course

2023 Cameroon Government’s priorities: H.E, Paul Biya, the Head of State charts the course

In his traditional address to the Nation on 31 December 2022, H.E Paul BIYA, the Head of State, commented on the global economic context, before reviewing the past economic year. Major guidelines were then given on the economic plan in 2023.

Despite the difficult global economic context, the President of the Republic was satisfied that the Cameroonian economy has been able to adapt to the international situation, showing, once again, resilience. Its growth rate has increased slightly to around 3.8% compared to 3.6% in 2021.
Inflation remained moderate, well below the world average. Access to inputs has been guaranteed, allowing manufacturing activities to continue and reducing the risk of food insecurity. All this was made possible by strong measures implemented by the Government.
Thus, in addition to the increase in tax and customs facilities granted as part of the post-covid-19 recovery plan, the Head of State highlights that significant subsidies have been granted to companies in vulnerable sectors, to support the viability and competitiveness of national economy.
According to the Head of State Paul BIYA, the fight against abusive speculative misconducts and illegal exports of primary commodities has been intensified. Encouraging progress has also been made in strengthening local production, reducing dependence upon imports and promoting the “Made in Cameroon” brand.
The President of the Republic announced that the Government shall continue to pay special attention to the coordinated implementation of the Import-Substitution policy, and to the optimal use of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area
Similarly, social inclusion policy will continue through an improved distribution of growth benefits. To this end, the social safety net programmes, which target the disadvantaged social groups, will be extended to a greater number of beneficiaries in all ten regions.
With a view to diversifying the sources of income of the Sate, three major projects aimed at developing mining potential, structuring the national economy and creating jobs were authorised to proceed by the President of the Republic.

Mining Sector
Although our country has a subsoil rich in mineral resources, the mining sector, excluding oil, contributes only 1% of the Gross Domestic Product. According to Head of State, developing the solid mineral mining sector shall help the country ensure the relay of hydrocarbons whose stocks are dwindling and secure additional financial resources, which can be allocated to finance our investments.
The year 2023 will therefore be marked by the kick-off of work related to the exploitation of iron ore in Kribi-Lobe. The project includes the building of an iron ore beneficiation plant, a pipeline of approximately 20 kilometres and a 60-megawatt power plant.
The Head of State also announced the launching of exploitation of the Mbalam-Nabeba iron deposit. Expected benefits are huge, as our country will benefit, among other things, from a 540-kilometer railway line between Nabeba in Congo and the Port of Kribi, where an iron ore terminal will be built.
The third project relates to the exploitation of the Bipindi – Grand Zambi iron, with the development of a steel complex for the local transformation of iron, the construction of a pipeline and several basic infrastructures to benefit the population.
A milestone has already been marked in the achievement of these various projects, with the signature of the related mining conventions and the granting of exploitation permits to the successful companies.

Energy Sector
The President of the Republic commended the progress made in the supply of electricity, with the connection of the East region to the South interconnected grid and the commissioning of the power supply line from Nyabizan to Yaoundé, which now allows for the injection of the entire production of the Memve’ele dam into the electricity grid. The process shall continue in 2023. In the same vein, the Head of State announced the commissioning of the first phase of the Nachtigal hydroelectric dam and the start of works to connect the South interconnected network to the North interconnected network These efforts will be intensified through the construction of new energy infrastructure and the development of solar energy, especially in the northern part of the country.

Water sector
In 2023, the President of the Republic announces the launch of the mega-project for the supply of drinking water to the city of Douala and its surroundings and the continued implementation of the Drinking Water Supply Project for the town of Yaoundé and its surroundings (PAEPYS). These two major projects will be added to the production facilities built in some of the country’s secondary towns (Bamenda, Bertoua, Ngaoundéré, Ebolowa). And the construction of these production facilities will be extended to other localities in 2023.

Construction Industry
The Head of State is proud with the 860 km of road and 460 linear meters of work of engineering built or rehabilitated in 2022. Among the flagship achievements are: the commissioning of the bridge over the Cross-River between Cameroon and Nigeria, the completion of the asphalting of the section of road between Sangmelima (Cameroon) and Brazzaville (Congo), the asphalting of the section of the Lena-Tibati-Ngatt road on National Highway No. 15, the construction of the Kribi-Lolabe freeway and the Grand Zambi-Kribi road, which will give an impetus to the competitiveness of the Port of Kribi. According to the President of the Republic, this effort will continue in 2023, with the development of about 700 km of road, including the asphalting of the Ebolowa-Akom II-Kribi section. In addition, construction work will resume on the Mora-Dabanga-Kousseri, Babadjou-Bamenda and Kumba-Ekondo Titi road sections. Special attention will also be paid to the rehabilitation of urban roads and traffic improvement between major cities. The launch of construction work on the urban section of the Yaounde-Nsimalen highway and the acceleration of work on the Yaounde-Douala highway are also on the agenda. The same applies to the rehabilitation and modernisation of the airports of Tiko, Bertoua and Kribi.

Health sector
The Head of State commended the improvement in health care provisions in 2022, including the inauguration and commissioning of the Regional Medical Centre and the General Hospital of Garoua as well as the rehabilitation of the infrastructure and the technical facilities and several health care centres. Thanks to investment in this sector, Cameroon is now capable to provide quality health care in specialised fields such as heart surgery and kidney transplant. Paul BIYA asked the government to pursue the efforts in this sector, by putting in place a vast uplift of the technical facilities and hospital staff capacities over the whole country.
Other Government priorities for 2023 include further implementation of the structural reforms provided for in the Economic and Financial Programme agreed with the IMF.

Previous Cameroon-World Bank Cooperation: Three projects receive financing from the World Bank.

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