At the Atlantic Council, Cameroon’s Minister of Economy laid out the country’s economic trajectory in a conversation with Julian Pecquet, the Washington/UN correspondent for Jeune Afrique and the Africa Report. Despite modest growth in the face of significant global pressures, it is “not enough for [Cameroon] to get to [its] goals of becoming an emerging country by 2035,” Ousmane Mey said.
A “paradigm shift” is underway in Cameroon’s economic planning, the Minister of Economy explained, as the country continues to learn from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressures of the war in Ukraine. He said that in particular, the Cameroonian government wants to “take advantage of the situation to reengineer [its] production capacity to be able to produce more locally, cover the national demand, and export more in this environment.” At a broader level, the African Union is also working to “integrate and trade more between the countries” to promote resiliency and insulation from global crises at a continental level, Ousame Mey explained.
At the same time, he said, the stressors climate change is imposing on Africa, even though the continent contributes the least to global pollution, are closely tied to Cameroon’s economic goals. The Minister noted that “sustainability, resiliency, and inclusion” must be at the forefront of the agenda for international monetary institutions. These issues are informing Cameroon’s position going into the Spring Meetings, explained the Minister, who expects the talks to focus on “the future of the [Bretton Woods] institutions,” “reforms,” and “global challenges.” Particularly on the topic of reforms, he praised the “debt service suspension initiatives” that were introduced in 2020 under the Group of Twenty common framework to alleviate Cameroon’s burden in a time of crisis. “This is certainly something we should include in the reform of the financial architecture in the future,” he said.