At TEF, we are passionate about African entrepreneurs!!!
Welcome to #TEFAdvocacy, where we look out for entrepreneurs. We look into government policies that affect entrepreneurs or the absence of policies that would make entrepreneurship easier and better and give recommendations.
Today, we will be looking at Cameroon, the home of the popular Makossa dance.
According to the International Trade Administration, almost all business transactions in Cameroon require senior-level government approval, making for a cumbersome process susceptible to political influences and corruption. Even minor procurement decisions require Minister-level approval.
Because of the difficult bureaucracy, most projects require frequent face-to-face interaction with civil servants. If not, projects can become lost in the various ministries. Government procurement is a long and arduous process in Cameroon, and understanding and enforcing legal agreements is painstaking work. Cameroon ranked 167 amongst 190 countries in terms of ease of doing business, which is an indicator that the government of Cameroon needs to make deliberate efforts to develop policies that will not only encourage entrepreneurship but also lead to economic growth.
Corruption is also a major challenge faced by entrepreneurs in Cameroon. Entrepreneurs have complained of serious exploitation by government officials at the point of rendering public services such as electricity connection, water connection and import licenses. According to Daniel Gbetnkom in his report “Corruption and small and medium-sized enterprise growth in Cameroon”, the public officers who most often exercise pressure on SMEs in Cameroon for informal payment (bribes) include tax, customs and electricity officers. The general observation is that firms always pay more than the official cost for public service delivery.
We propose that the government reduces the bureaucracy involved in doing business in Cameroon. The government should also simplify the process of getting approvals for business transactions without compromising the standards required.
The Government of Cameroon should look into the issues of government procurement and enforcing legal agreements. Develop policies that’ll make government procurement and enforcement of legal agreements easier. The
The government should deal with this issue of corruption by sanctioning, most stridently, any official who requests bribes from owners of SMEs. Once examples are made of a number of these officials, others will err on the side of caution.
At the end of the day, TEF wants the best for entrepreneurs in Cameroon. We want the economy of Cameroon to also grow and this can be made possible by providing a conducive environment for MSMEs. We trust in the Government of Cameroon to take the best course of action concerning its entrepreneurs.
~ Author: Opeyemi Ayodeji