The Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts (MINPMEESA) is set to adopt a National Plan for the Development of Entrepreneurship (PNaDEC) aimed at boosting youth employment and reducing imports.
The plan, linked to the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (SND30), is expected to be adopted "soon," according to Minpmeesa, but an exact date has not been announced.
The PNaDEC's implementation will require funding of XAF15 billion over the 2024-2030 period for its 78 projects.
A compass to stimulate entrepreneurship
Minister Achille Bassilekin III described the PNaDEC as a "compass" to stimulate entrepreneurship and address contemporary challenges. He emphasized its role in promoting self-employment, value creation, and value chain development to access national and continental markets, contributing to Cameroon's emergence as an emerging economy. Key objectives of the PNaDEC include establishing a legal and regulatory framework aligned with international standards and national context to support local entrepreneurial initiatives. It also aims to boost domestic production and reduce imports with the implementation of an import-substitution policy that enhances local entrepreneurs’ competitiveness to meet domestic demand and export surpluses.
Finally, the plan aims to create decent and sustainable jobs, particularly for young people, by fostering a "virtuous entrepreneurial environment" that encourages innovative businesses led by youth and women.
Addressing youth unemployment
Cameroon's working-age population is 62% of the total population, with over 16 million people. However, the youth unemployment rate (15-34 age group) stands at 39.3%, with significant disparities between genders (47.2% for men, 31.3% for women) according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
President Paul Biya, recognizing the limitations of the state and private sectors in absorbing the growing number of job seekers, has encouraged youth to embrace self-employment and contribute to import substitution. He urged them to participate in the Three-Year Integrated Import-Substitution Plan 2024-2026 to find opportunities and support themselves.