The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe has urged the government of Cameroon to take a bold step in reducing poverty by stepping up efforts toward inclusive and sustainable development, structural transformation, economic diversification, regional integration and
trade, as well as the digital economy.
She was speaking on Thursday at the International Relations Institute in Cameroon, IRIC while giving a lecture on Regional Integration and the digital Economy to students of the institution.
Vera Songwe said the Economic Commission for Africa is out to help Cameroon diversify and boosts its economy through the African Continental Free Trade Area, Acfta.-a vision for a prosperous Africa.
Cameroon is demarcating itself in the sub region but can do more with the resources at its disposal resaon why it has to embrace the Acfta, she said.
“(The Acfta) will help increase jobs, more trade (with African countries), and of course a reduction in poverty, a better peace, stability and development of the economy,” Dr. Vera Songwe said.
She lamented the fact that Africa imports 14.7 billion worth of drugs from outside the continent while countries like Kenya, Egyp and South Africa produce drugs. Due to to barriers across the economies, African countries can not sell or trade amongst themselves, she said. The Acfta is here to lift up such barriers and open the African market to itself.
“Africa adds value to itself when there is free trade within itself thus creating employment for the over 16 million youths ssearch for jobs yearly,” she said.
In addition to making reforms and policies that open up the market, the Executive Secretary of the ECA also urged Cameroonian authorities to embark on a digital transformation in order to achieve the vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2035.
The digital transformation of the economy was a key aspect in talks between Dr. Vera Songwe and the Head of State Paul Biya earlier in the morning. Laying emphasis on the diversified nature of Cameroon’s economy, Vera Songwee revealed it could be the element that would lead Cameroon to emergence, provided Cameroonians explored the different areas of competitiveness of the country, one of which she said is the development of the digital economy.
It is now left for Cameroon to ratify the Acfta which could be the catalyst to help the country surpass the 10 percent growth as become the emerging country it seeks to be by 2035.