Lately when you turn on CRTV Radio/Television broadcasting network and other local radio/TV stations in Cameroon, you will definitely hear a news article, a talk show about vision 2035 or the fight against unemployment in Cameroon. For some time now I have been brainstorming and asking myself this question, out of the numerous ministries in Cameroon which one is or can play a great role in the achievement of vision 2035 or the success in beating out the high rate of unemployment in Cameroon. From my point of View I think the ministry of small and medium size enterprise, social economy and handicraft (MINPMEESA) is that ministry in Cameroon that can act as the game changer for the Cameroon economy and solve the high unemployment if the right thing and strategy is done. Remember strategy is better than energy.
I believe and I know that SMEs can be the engine of growth and job creation in Cameroon. When MINPMEESA was created by a presidential decree, I believe that President Biya had in mind that SMEs plays an important role in the economic development of a country. The role of SMEs in employment creation, wealth creation in Cameroon is critical which I think have been under estimated by the government. With the headache (problem) of unemployment, slow economic growth, the government of Cameroon need to highly realize and consider that the paracetamol (solution) for the high unemployment is with the ministry of small and medium size enterprises. SMEs have provided decent jobs to thousands of Cameroonians who run small and medium size businesses. If the government of Cameroon can do more than what is being done now as far as the activities of MINPMEESA is concern, SMEs will be the biggest employer in Cameroon, and will greatly close the big gap that exist between the poor and the rich in Cameroon. But unfortunately (sorry to say) the Cameroon government have been putting but energy and not strategy in this game changer ministry and in most cases there is neither energy nor strategy. If the Cameroon government really want to expand the economy and reduce the high rate of unemployment among youths, it is high time they start putting energy and strategy into this ministry (MINPMEESA). The government of Cameroon needs to go an extra mile to make sure that the SME sector in Cameroon fulfills it potential role in contributing to a healthy economy. I believe one of the characteristics of growing and booming economy is the flourishing of small and medium size enterprises. For example, SMEs are the major growing force behind the fastest growing economy of China. Also, the role of SMEs is well acknowledged in other countries such as Japan, Korea, and all other industrialized economies in terms of creating employment, reducing poverty and increasing the welfare of her citizens.
Out of the so many obstacles in the path of the growth of SMEs in Cameroon I will like to highlight one major obstacle and how I think the Government of Cameroon should handle this obstacle through the Ministry of small and medium size enterprise. The Ministry need help to turn SMEs into an effectual instrument for the enhancement of economic growth and employment in Cameroon. I am offering my own help as a Social Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship/Business Trainer by highlighting this major factor (Obstacle) and providing a solution.
1. Lack of Coordination and poor strategic Partnership
If there is a unique Ministry in the Biya government that can highly encourage the boom of the economy and reduce the high unemployment, it is the ministry of small and medium size enterprise. SMEs in Cameroon have created around 60% (unofficial statistics) of the country’s employment. It should not be underestimated that if the government of Cameroon can do the right thing through the right ministry (MINPMEESA), unemployment will be highly reduced without stress and the economy will boom without difficulties. It is high time for the Cameroon government to turn to entrepreneurs, small and medium size business owners to support economic growth and the fight against the high unemployment. For the Cameroon government to succeed in this they must launch initiatives, strategic partnerships with organizations that support entrepreneurs and SMEs with the required training, empowerment and funding. There are unique organizations/social enterprises in Cameroon like The Center for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Business Management Development (CELBMD) Africa which is a strategic initiative of Community sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship Foundation, there is DUCTU Foundation, YES Cameroon, Njioh Financial Literacy Center and many more who are doing great programs/projects in supporting Entrepreneurs, Small and Medium Size business owners in the area of Training them on how to start up and run successful businesses (Small Business Management/Administration), training them on how to effectively market their products/services, training on how to secure funding and manage their finances, investment education etc but unfortunately the government of Cameroon have failed to see the importance of what these organizations are doing to boast the economy and reduce unemployment. If the government of Cameroon through the ministry of small and medium size enterprises were to realize that if they partner with these organizations especially those in the grassroots, unemployment will completely be curbed out of Cameroon. It is high time for the Cameroon government through the right ministry to partner with these organizations and support entrepreneurs, start ups, SMEs and the expansion of new products/services. These organizations like CELBMD Africa (www.celbmdafrica.org , www.facebook.com/celbmd) run programs which could transform the dreams of entrepreneurs, small and medium size business owners who are inexperienced to develop successful businesses into reality. This strategic partnership will provide capital support and guidance (Training and Empowerment) on how to start up, manage and grow businesses and consequently job creation, wealth creation, economic growth and reduction in high unemployment. The idea of Cameroon government strategically partnering with these organizations, is to help SMEs to flourish which is very crucial if the Cameroon government really want to stamp out unemployment, poverty, boast economic growth and achieve vision 2035. If the Cameroon Government can partner with these organizations, this partnership will create outstanding opportunities both for the short term and long term. The achievement of vision 2035 very much depends on the continuous training, empowerment, guidance and funding of entrepreneurs and SMEs which can only achieved if the government and the private sector organizations as mentioned above can work together. Cameroon Entrepreneurs and SMEs are vital for the growth and stability of Cameroons economy. The thousands of SMEs, Entrepreneurs in Cameroon need to be cherished.
Entrepreneurs and SMEs play a vital role in Cameroon’s economy and wellbeing if the government and the ministry of small and medium size enterprise can do better than what they are currently doing.
Upon all these I have highlighted in this article I am summarizing in one sentence “It is high time for the Cameroon government to strategically partner with the right organizations who are doing a great deal in the area of Entrepreneurship training, Small and Medium size business management empowerment, financial literacy training etc. Networking and partnership with these organizations is a viable option for the government of Cameroon to boast economic growth and reduce the high unemployment”
Empowerment Coach/Public Speaker
CEO, CELBMD Africa