GIZ has been operating in Cameroon for more than 45 years. At present, 24 development workers and 213 Cameroonian and German experts are deployed in Cameroon.
Cameroon has the seventh largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and is rich in natural resources and minerals. Despite various conflicts, past and present, it is regarded as an anchor of stability in a crisis-torn region.
Nonetheless, Cameroonian society faces major challenges. Widespread corruption and the resulting unfavourable conditions for investment mean that much of its development potential is going untapped. Out of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Cameroon is making a small amount of progress towards meeting the targets on poverty reduction, primary education and gender equality, and the spread of HIV has not worsened. However, no progress has been achieved on the other goals.
In 2007/2009, the Government of Cameroon set out its ambitions in its Vision 2035, which aspires to make Cameroon an emerging economy by 2035. This formed the basis for a Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), which replaced the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The Government currently attaches great importance to infrastructural and economic development. However, ‘upstream’ sectors such as legal certainty and good governance are not elaborated in any detail in the GESP.
GIZ’s main commissioning parties in Cameroon are the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union (EU). Its main cooperating partners are the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).
GIZ is engaged in the following priority areas of cooperation with Cameroon:
Environmental and forest policy
Cameroon accounts for a substantial proportion of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical forest area. Half of Cameroon’s land area is forested. Timber is the country’s main export product alongside oil and cocoa. At present, only a small percentage of Cameroon’s timber comes from sustainably managed sources. The signing of the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Cameroon and the European Union in 2011 was a major step forward in efforts to combat illegal logging. Since then, only timber from legal sources has been permitted for export to the European market. The forest policy advice provided by GIZ on behalf of BMZ played a significant role in bringing about this Agreement.
Governance and decentralisation
Cameroon is making progress with decentralisation and the transfer of competences to the municipalities. This must now be followed by the decentralisation of the requisite financial resources. In rural regions in particular, the municipalities still have a long way to go before they will be in a position to fund infrastructure and social services from their own budgets. GIZ is contributing to capacity building at the municipal level and is strengthening civil society organisations and their role in public service provision.
At the national level, GIZ is supporting Cameroon’s Ministry for Economic Affairs, Planning and Regional Development and Ministry of Finance to enable them to make progress with the reforms of public finances. The purpose of these reforms is to improve the implementation of the national development strategy through better budget management and to ensure that the revenue available to Cameroon is planned and disbursed in accordance with its development priorities and targets. This approach will help to red uce poverty and increase growth.
In their government negotiations, Germany and Cameroon agreed to adopt rural development as a new priority area of cooperation. GIZ’s contribution to this field of activity is currently being established.
GIZ continues to be engaged in the health sector within the G8’s Muskoka Initiative. The development of Cameroon’s health system has been stagnating at a low level for years. Children and women in particular have only limited access to medicines and medical care. Family planning, appropriate health care for women during pregnancy and childbirth, and access to contraceptives are insufficiently developed. On behalf of BMZ, GIZ is helping to improve care provision for the general public, firstly by facilitating access to modern contraceptives und family planning services and, secondly, by supporting the Health Ministry’s reintroduction of midwifery training and by building the capacities of midwifery colleges in three regions of Cameroon.
Regional programmes focusing on the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and on promoting small businesses in the cocoa sector are also supported from Cameroon.