Cameroon is more resilient than other countries of the Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC), which are strongly dependent on the price of oil. Nevertheless, the country is experiencing a slowdown in economic activity as its oil production declines and the effects of public investment have yet to be seen. Average growth rate was 3.9% in 2007-2014 but dropped in 2017-2018.
Initial analysis by Cameroon’s National Institute of Statistics shows that past growth has not been very inclusive. The poverty rate has hardly declined (37.5% in 2014 compared to 40% in 2007), and there has been an increase in inequalities between rural and urban areas as well as within each of these respective areas. There are several factors behind these trends:
- Insufficient creation of wealth, especially in the primary sector (which contributes most to reducing national poverty) compared to the service sector;
- Strong tensions on the job market; and
- The ineffectiveness of the redistribution policies established in 2008, as can be seen by the increased consumption of subsidized basic necessities by the wealthiest segment.
This project is part of a European facility for a research program on inequalities in developing and emerging countries which is coordinated by the AFD. Financed by the Development Cooperation Instrument of the European Union, this facility enables to implement 20 research projects over the period 2017-2020, in partnership with donors and research centers from the South to the North.
The overall goal is to fuel strategic reflection by the government and its partners on the upcoming implementation phases of the 2010-2019 Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP). Particularly concerned are Cameroon’s Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) and Directorate General of the Economy and Public Investments Programming (DGEPIP).
More concretely, the research will make a precise assessment of the trends in inequalities in Cameroon over the past 20 years and identify their determinants. In a second phase, several teams of Cameroonian researchers and statisticians from the National Institute of Statistics and from University of Yaoundé II will be involved in conducting studies on the following three themes:
- The relationship between inequalities and structural transformations of the economy;
- The role of subsidy policies in inequality trends;
- The impact of urbanization on inequalities, via dynamics of the job market in the formal and informal sectors.
The study will use data from the last three Cameroonian household surveys (ECAMs) conducted in 2001, 2007, and 2014. These data will make it possible, among other things, to measure people’s standard of living and thus to examine inequality questions from a monetary view. The ECAM results, which can moreover make it possible to measure the main job market indicators, will be rounded out by two national surveys carried out on employment and the informal sector (EESI 2005 and 2010). Doing so will enable a more in-depth analysis of the dynamics of inequalities in the Cameroonian job market over the past 15 years. In terms of analyses, various statistical and econometric techniques (regression, decomposition, simulation, etc.) will be used according to the research themes.
The research is expected to provide new and original knowledge about inequalities in Cameroon, covering two main features:
- The spatial and temporal dynamics of inequalities tied to changes in the Cameroonian economy, and
- The main explanatory factors, namely the role of public policies.
The research work will give rise to conferences, workshops for exchange on the results, and discussions in regions in particular. Various stakeholders will be involved in these: researchers and public authorities, as well as civil society, development actors, and the private sector. There are also plans to produce publications (policy briefs and research articles), which will make socioeconomic recommendations for reducing inequalities and the strengthening of Cameroon’s social cohesion.
This project is carried out with the support of the European Union
The content of this project information sheet falls under the sole responsibility of the AFD and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Union.