By Tata Mbunwe
While addressing the Cameroonians in his traditional end of year message, President Paul Biya announced the launched a 10-year National Development Strategy.
He said government is striving for an 8% economic growth in 2021.
The National Development Strategy, to run from 2021 to 2030, replaces a just-ended Growth and Development Strategic Paper, and will be following up development goals envisaged for the next 10 years, Biya said.
“The document (National Development Strategy) draws lessons from past experiences and sets goals for the next decade, notably the structural transformation of our economy and inclusive development” he explained.
The country is still battling will economic difficulties ensuing from a global economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus, alongside heavy spending on security witnessed in the past six years.
The President said Government is relying on international partners and global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic so as to realised an envisaged 8% economic growth in 2021.
“Therefore, it will be necessary to step up the flight against poverty, unemployment, and the lingering informal sector. It will also be necessary to strive to achieve an 8% growth rate by embarking on the structural transformation of our economy and enhancing the effectiveness of public spending,” he said.
However, critics say President Biya did not map out how the 8% growth will suddenly be realised in 2021, given an existing economic depression from a previous 4% growth in the past years, and rising inflation rate in the country.
To Valery Agbor Orock, Coordinator of the Centre for Persons living with disabilities in the Southwest region,
“We don’t expect that kind of automatic progress from 4% to 8% economic growth when we know many parts of the country are in conflict. I don’t know the magic of how economic growth will be increased from 4% to 8%,”
He added that, as a youth, he expected the president to mention how issues of youth unemployment will be tackled in the country but the President mentioned it passively.
The President of Centre for Disabled persons in the Southwest added that, without strategizing on lifting youths out of unemployment, the case of vulnerable persons therefore could not also be addressed as they only conglstitute a minority group.