The main source of job creation in Cameroon
Entrepreneurs have not traditionally been the main source of job creation in Cameroon. In fact, the government actually remains the largest employer in the country. Even the second employer, a parastatal company, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) will, unfortunately, lose 20,000 jobs as a result of the ongoing Anglophone Crisis. Put together, these indicators are not a good signal for an economy aspiring to join the ranks of “emerging nations” by 2035 or forecasting strong economic growth rates by 2027.
There is, therefore, a strong need for entrepreneurs to play their role of job creators and become the major employers. In fact, according to a report by Ernst and Young, entrepreneurs are globally creating jobs at more than twice the rate of established companies. Cameroon should follow the same trend in order to shift the current paradigm. This can be done by applying a simple process: new ideas or innovations create new businesses, and new businesses create jobs. The implementation of such a process will surely reinforce market competition, increase productivity levels in the country, improve the quality of products, and reduce prices.
Contrary to the above unfavourable indicators, entrepreneurship in Cameroon has some positive records. For example, in 2015, the country was listed among the 9 countries in the world with the most self-employed population by the World Economic Forum. In addition, a 2016 survey from the National Institute of Statistics (Cameroon) revealed that the number of ventures listed in 2016 in the country was superior to that of 2009 (i.e. 209,482 companies listed in 2016 against 93,969 units in 2009 representing an increase of 123%).
But it is not possible to directly link the above phenomenon of start-ups’ booming to innovation or sustainable job creation. Instead, the situation can be analysed as the absence of other options for work. People are somehow forced to start businesses in order to escape from unemployment and poverty. There is the predominance of the informal sector in addition to import/export and a strong component of sole proprietorships. Because of these weak fundamentals, 80% of businesses die before 5 years of existence and entrepreneurs are unable to fully establish and grow their enterprises. This situation certainly reveals the necessity of envisaging a new system.
This is interesting to see how Cameroonian entrepreneurs will succeed