Cameroon: Improving the Quality of Primary Education to Ensure Sustainable Growth

April 24, 2014

YAOUNDÉ, April 24, 2014 – Entitled Reexamining the Sources of Growth–the Quality of Basic Education, the seventh issue of the Cameroon Economic Update, published by the World Bank country office in Cameroon, assesses the macroeconomic situation in the country.  This issue focuses on the basic education sector.

Despite the gloomy global economic situation, Cameroon’s growth rate could stand at roughly 4.6 percent in 2013, owing to a robust tertiary sector and the boost received from industrial agriculture. 

The outlook for the oil sector is also promising—production is expected to double as a result of the drilling in new oil fields.  In addition, the first generation of large-scale infrastructure projects should be completed in the coming years.  However, the buildup of arrears, the deterioration in the business climate, and public investment execution delays are casting a pall on this outlook.

Although the Cameroonian economy has been growing at a fairly decent rate of 3 to 5 percent per year for the past decade, at this pace the country will not be able to achieve the target set by the Government in its Vision 2035,” noted Souleymane Coulibaly, World Bank Lead Economist for Central Africa and one of the main authors of this report.

This situation focuses renewed attention on the sources of growth in Cameroon so as to identify action areas that can help the country­ achieve the growth rates needed for sustainable development and poverty reduction,” stated Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon.

Endogenous growth theories have been tested over the past three decades in a large number of countries and have confirmed the key role played by human capital in economic growth.  In this regard, education and health (covered in the previous issue of the Cameroon Economic Update) can contribute significantly to Cameroon’s bid to achieve emerging economy status by 2035.

Access to basic education has improved greatly in the past ten years.  While primary school gross enrolment rates rose from 102.8 percent in 2001 to 112.9 percent in 2011, learning outcomes have deteriorated, even though they remain above those of comparable African countries.

It also bears noting that despite the additional public assistance allocated to what are known as the priority zones (Far North, North, Adamaoua, and East), learning outcomes in these zones continue to lag.  This issue also discusses the gap between the urban and rural areas, the cost of education, and the effectiveness of the human and financial public resources allocated to this sector.

In the future, the public authorities should be able to focus on the most important issues by improving data collection in order to better track the delivery of education services, assessing student outcomes in a more systematic manner, increasing budget allocations to education as a whole, reallocating, on a priority basis, public expenditure to the priority education zones, ensuring transparency in budget appropriations, and reexamining the textbook policy to ensure the sustainability and affordability of these tools,” affirmed Shobhana Sosale, World Bank Task Team Leader for Education and co-author of this report.

The aim of the Cameroon Economic Update is to share information and foster discussion aimed at helping improve the economic management of the country and unleashing its tremendous economic potential. Published biannually, it analyzes economic trends and issues.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Souleymane Coulibaly
Tel : (202) 473-9845
In Yaoundé
Odilia Hebga
Tel : (237) 9785-9955