National Times: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on over 30 so-called coastal economies, including Cameroon, in its recent January 2019 report on the “Economic Outlook for Africa” to review their business frameworks to boost the competitiveness of their economies.
Dozens of then countries included in the report are currently preaching economic growth and modernisation, but the regional Bank does not believe these countries are doing enough. Importantly, the absence of the vital network of infrastructure, including roads, seaports, electricity, and mobile telecommunications remains a challenge to the economic aspirations of the regional economy.
In recent years, despite a conscious silence on the issue, international bodies have been trying to challenge African leaders on the importance of infrastructure network to boost the region’s economic development, showing the gains that Africa can make in investments in this area.
In 2015, the African Development Bank (AfDB) told the world that African needs at least US $172 billion to cover its infrastructure gap before 2030. Investment in infrastructure could have a double benefit for the continent: it would allow its economic positioning and would constitute an added value for the growth scrutinized by many countries, the transition to double-digit growth.
To reverse the trends, the AfDB, in its latest report on the “Economic Outlook for Africa” invites thirty-six economies of the continent including Cameroon to restructure by expanding their port facilities, storage facilities and administration, and boosting the efficiency of maritime services. “The cost of African port facilities is 40% higher than the global standard. Added to this are long container downtimes, delays in ship movement authorizations, delays in handling paperwork, and a low number of containers per crane per hour (except in South Africa). “, Says the AfDB.
According to the AfDB, more than 70% of delays in freight delivery come from delays at ports. The financial institution also recommends increasing the speed and reliability of rail and road networks by reducing congestion and delays at checkpoints and sending trucks and rolling stock to service.
Corruption at checkpoints in Cameroon is a big problem for road transporters. In December, National Times reported that Central African Republic and Congo are finding alternative ports to import their goods, after abandoning the Douala seaport because of corruption at the port and across checkpoints in Cameroon.