Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos has returned to Luanda after a two year absence to find that his party, the MPLA, is more ... divided than ever. Has he come back to seek a truce with his successor, João Lourenço?
With negative growth likely when the statistics come in for 2020 – -1.2% compared to a previously predicted 4.1% – the country is expected to record its worst economic performance in the last two decades.
This is a trend that Yaounde wants to work to reverse in order to stop the recession. The task promises to be difficult in a climate marked by successive falls in oil prices, the halt in growth kinked to the African Cup of Nations’ infrastructure projects and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The only positive aspect of this unfortunate situation is that Cameroon continues to receive support from international institutions. With debt around 40% of GDP, international partners – such as the IMF – strongly supported the country in 2020, while praising its economic discipline.
Infrastructure and industrialisation
In the medium term, Cameroon plans to use its Stratégie Nationale de Développement 2020-2030 – unveiled in mid-November 2020 – to set a new course. It was conceived after the previous plan – the Document de Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi – failed.
President Paul Biya announced that industrialising the country would be of the utmost priority – which has been put temporarily on hold while the master plan of industrialisation is updated – as it could help stimulate economic growth.
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These advances should enable Cameroon to continue its preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, which it will host in 2022. The building of infrastructure, which was at a standstill for a while, has made considerable progress. In addition, the African Nations Championship, reserved for local players and held in January on already operational sites, served as a trial run.
The Anglophone crisis is still raging
Finally, one remaining question: will the long-awaited decentralisation programme be successful? In early December, regional elections – which were won overwhelmingly by the ruling Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais – were held, but they are unlikely to put an end to the conflict between Yaounde and the English-speaking separatists of Ambazonia.
Re-elected for a seventh term in 2018, President Paul Biya has still not managed to resolve the Anglophone crisis raging in the South-West and North-West regions.
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