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Cameroon : Private Sector to Promote Women’s Economic Rights

Female Entrepreneur

The Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has been involved in the implementation of the project known as, Women’s Economic Rights in Cameroon  for over a year now. They aspire to mold an emerging economy come 2035.


In Cameroon, 80% of women are unemployed or underemployed. The majority of them work in informal enterprises, in a context marked by complex and costly regulatory processes, and difficult access to credit and capital, due to a political and institutional framework that constitutes an obstacle to their empowerment.  These barriers include administrative measures and/or laws that, intentionally or not, have been implemented and applied as “normal measures”, but which in fact constitute an obstacle to the creation of wealth and the growth of the country’s economy.
Regarding the ease of setting up/registering a business in Cameroon, women unfortunately have to complete 6 procedures, against 5 for men. According to Decree No. 2007/254 of 4 September 2007 on obtaining a national identity card, married women must present a marriage certificate to obtain one. Moreover, they must produce a marriage certificate for business registration, which is not the case for men. The same discrimination is also observed in the case of issuance of a travel document (passport), or the establishment of a title deed.
The WERC project aims to remove these barriers and ensure equal property rights for married men and women. To this end, it focuses on expanding economic opportunities and empowering Cameroonian women by advocating for the removal of gender discriminatory laws that reduce women’s ability to register businesses, obtain trade credit, identity documents and travel documents.
A report was drawn by the Nkafu Policy Institute  and it set a number of goals and proposed solutions to lift Cameroonian women. The report states that it aims at eliminating obstacles to the equal participation of women in productive activities. This with the coalition of government actors, parliamentarians, business holders and the media amongst others. ” Women’s access to quality education and health care in Cameroon , access to information and technology, and their participation in economic development” are major challenges the  report highlights.
The report recommends , barriers  be removed to access  land ownership and establish measures to facilitate women’s access to credit . This requires the intervention of the government, civil society organizations, financial institutions, but also the desire for change desired by the women themselves. Also, Address discriminatory gender norms in education and health, and promote social protection measures. The government must address discriminatory gender norms that prevent girls from accessing school and quality learning; further ensure that budgets are gender responsive and that national education plans and policies prioritize gender equality.


Women gaining ICT knowledge

The world has quickly gone digital, empowering women into ICTs will go a long way in breaking gender barriers. This canbe done by promoting the training of young girls and women in ICT professions that meet the demand of the labor market. Such a strategy will contribute significantly to strengthening the entrepreneurial skills of women and girls and making them more competitive in the labor market.

Published on 05.05.2023

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