Yaoundé, February 3, 2015 – Entitled Revisiting the sources of growth – Enhancing the efficiency of the Port of Douala, the eighth issue of the Cameroon Economic Update, published by the World Bank office in Cameroon, assesses the macroeconomic situation in the country and then focuses on the efficiency of the port of Douala.
Despite the gloomy global economic environment, declining international oil prices and insecurity crisis in the Far North, Cameroon’s growth rate is projected to remain strong in 2014 at 5.3 percent.
The outlook for the oil sector shows a strong performance, projected to grow at 13.5 percent against 8.5 percent in 2013. The tertiary sector remains the main driver of growth with 2.4 percent contribution. But on the other hand, fiscal performance is still a concern and deteriorated during the first half of 2014 with high cost of oil subsidies continuing to weight on the State budget. The business climate is also not yet conductive enough to boost growth.
“Although the Cameroonian economy is expected to grow at around 5 percent over the next five years, the country will not be able to achieve the objectives set in the Strategic Document for Growth and Employment over the period 2010-2020,” 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. “Accelerating reforms in the area of trade facilitation and more specifically the efficiency of the Port of Douala, can help to unleash Cameroon’s full potential.”
As a natural hub for the Central African region, due to its strategic location, inefficiencies at the Port of Douala represents a major constraint to growth. The Douala port is one of the least efficient of the region and the objective to reduce global time to 7 days at the end of the 1990s has not yet been achieved.
Several options can be taken into consideration in order to improve the efficiency of the port of Douala and this reports offers some recommendations among which, the revision of the legal framework governing the Port, the improvement of the awareness of importers and brokers on trade procedures or the preparation and adoption by all stakeholders of a comprehensive structural reform plan based on an independent audit of the key choke points in any area of port operations.
The Cameroon Economic Update shares information and fosters discussion to help improve the economic management of the country and unleash its tremendous economic potential. It is published biannually and analyzes economic trends and issues.