YAOUNDÉ, October 19, 2010 - The Republic of Cameroon and the World Bank have signed a Financing Agreement to support the Competitive Value Chains Project. On June 22, 2010 the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$30 million credit for the project.
The objective of the project is to contribute to the growth of sustainable wood processing and ecotourism value chains in Cameroon by improving their competitiveness and investment climate. The project will finance specialized infrastructure investments, vocational training, policy reforms, and will provide direct support to firms through an innovation grant.
The project also aims to increase, sustainably, the economic value added of the wood value chain in Cameroon and will support regulatory and institutional interventions in the wood value chain to encourage productive private investments and job creation. It will also finance preparatory studies for the establishment of the wood cluster in Yaoundé, for which the World Bank is expected to provide additional financing. Although the project is intended to promote wood products, its net environmental impact should be positive because this will help reduce waste and illegal and unsustainable logging, especially by promoting the use of sustainably managed wood, high yield cutting techniques, the use of secondary species currently not in use, and drying techniques that will allow for savings on transportation costs and significantly increase the quality and shelf life of wood.
It will also seek to address a number of the constraints preventing the growth of the tourism industry in Cameroon. The central theme of the proposed tourism development strategy is to focus on Cameroon's world class tourism assets in order to provide several highly attractive tourism packages targeting destinations such as Kribi, Campo Ma’an, Mount Cameroon, and the Chiefdoms.
The project also aims to provide solutions to cross-cutting investment climate issues in Cameroon. Moreover, the innovation grant system will help improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in the wood and tourism value chains.
Finally, a dedicated project implementation unit will be established within the Ministry of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, under the strategic direction of the Steering Committee of the Competitive Value Chains Support Program.
The project includes four components:
Component 1: Sustainable wood processing (US$2.2 million);
Component 2: Ecotourism (US$8.7 million);
Component 3: Cross-cutting interventions to support competitiveness and investment (US$9.2 million); and
Component 4: Project coordination, monitoring, and evaluation (US$6 million).
The project also has an unallocated budget line of US$1 million and another line for a refund of the project preparation advance (US$2.9 million).