The development of the energy, agro industry, digital technology sectors have been identified as key drivers to the reconstruction of Cameroon’s industrialisation. The sectors were presented to participants during the first Industrialisation forum of Cameroon organised on the theme, “agro industry; a sanctuary of national industrial reconstruction for Cameroon’s emergence”.
During the event marked by workshops, experts took turns to present their views on ways of boosting industrialisation in Cameroon. Celestine Ndonga, expert in the domain expounded on the significant contribution of the agro industry sector in fostering industrial growth. He highlighted the role of Leather transformation that has helped some European and African countries to emerge He cited the examples of France, Italy and Morocco that are trade marks in the sector before calling on the Cameroon government to promote the leather transformation industry.
In a historical perspective, he noted that the transformation of animal skin to leather began in the Far North region began some 150 years ago however the process has never been industrialised despite its potentials.
Most of the experts and industrialists who took to the rostrum noted that other countries first developed engineering sectors which are essential in the production chain and are more costly. To this point, industries on the ground where encourage to provide on the job training to youths especially through internships and specialised programmes.
Different experts at the event indicated that a state of industrialisation can only be achieved if public administration is orientated towards industrial management.
The Polish Experience
Polish experts at the National Industrialisation forum shed light on their country’s experience. They indicated that Poland that had been a former German and Russia colony is today a developed country because of the development of essential sectors that boost local growth. Some of the sectors include training, energy and infrastructure. The polish are also said to have encouraged local brands and internal consumption of polish made good which significantly contribute to ensuring a trade balance.
Some Industrialists present gave examples of initiatives taken by Cameroonians to boost Industrialisation that are under valoured. The Bocom Project to exploit iron and transform it locally was cited as a major project that will generate jobs and foster the growth of subsidiary industries. The female industrialist, Audrey Chicot highlighted the role of her company in producing spares for heavy machinery amongst other metal manufacturing processes. She said her structure constructed a ship that was exhibited in France but most people couldn’t believe it was made in Cameroon by Cameroonians.
These experts called on government to recognise and encourage their efforts in giving sharp to the made in Cameroon brand and to create a favourable climate more companies installed for manufacturing and transfer technology.
Government officials at the event noted that mechanisms have been put in place to enhance private investments and it is the responsibility of investors to propel the industrialisation.
The Polish investors said they are ready to share their technology with Cameroon in various sectors. “Opening borders for foreign companies is the lone condition of transfer of technology” Audrey Chicot told the assembly. She said the Industrial Development Plan of 2018 should not suffer the same problems like that of 2008 that more trade oriented.
Experts explained that the first ever industrialisation plan in Cameroon was drafted in 1989 but later abandoned due to economic crisis. The current plan is the fruit of collaboration of different partners which include administrative reforms.