The Nkafu Policy Institute, Think Tank at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation, invites Cameroonian experts to apply for the position of DEBATER during the 4th and the 5th edition of the Nkafu Debates respectively scheduled for Thursday 23rd January and Thursday 20th February 2020 at Mansel Hotel- Yaounde from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Nkafu Debates represent a platform par excellence for non-politicized debates, based on evidence, facts, and statistics. The objective of these debates is to give Cameroonian and African high-level experts the opportunity to objectively address a set of issues related to our country’s economic development.
The debate panel for each date will constitute two experts arguing FOR the proposition and two AGAINST the proposition in 90 minutes. They will defend their point of view based on facts, statistics, and experience. There will be no PowerPoint presentation. Indeed, the Nkafu Debates follows the same format as the Munk Debates held in Canada.
Please select the topic you will like to discuss. Female Debaters are highly encouraged to apply.
Topic 1: Will More Taxes Increase Fiscal Revenues in Cameroon? (23rd January 2020)
In Cameroon, taxation remains the first obstacle to the development of entrepreneurial activities (General Census of Enterprises, 2016). Indeed, high taxes prevent entrepreneurs to fully establish and flourish their activities. In addition, each year the government of Cameroon creates ‘new taxes’. For example, in the 2019 Budget, a flat rate of 200 F CFA per application was created for software and application that are downloaded online via phone or tablet. Moreover, the 2020 Budget bill projects to increase taxes on cosmetics and artificial hair just to name but a few.
The above situation has led to the development and the predominance of the informal sector in Cameroon. Indeed, the majority of businesses prefer to remain informal (i.e. approximately 89% of small enterprises) to avoid being charged high taxes. Consequently, the government cannot fully collect the projected amounts.
Based on the Laffer curve, two schools of thought can be derived. The first school supports that a favorable taxation regime acts as a catalyst for the development of start-ups, foreign direct investment and private investment. The second school demonstrates that an unfavorable tax rate negatively affects investment decisions, economic growth and employment. Also, some observers believe the government can maximize fiscal receipts with low tax rates (i.e. the efficient thinking). Others, on the other hand, support that governments should increases taxes and tax rates in order to have more fiscal revenues (i.e. the effective thinking).
This debate will discuss the best way for governments in Africa to increase fiscal revenues with a focus on Cameroon. The main question to be answered is: Should Cameroon prioritize more taxes or high tax rates to increase fiscal revenues?
Topic 2: Is Market Competition Good for Cameroon’s Industrialization? (20th February 2020)
In 2019, the government of Cameroon has drafted the National Strategy for Development 2020-2030. This strategy lays more emphasis on industrialization and the structural transformation of the economy. However, Cameroon faces major structural challenges and negative shocks including an alarming poverty level, government remaining the largest employer, the worsening security situation and the recent currency crisis as a result of excessive imports. In addition, small businesses in Cameroon face major obstacles that prevent them from growing. These obstacles include high tax rates, financial exclusion, corruption, and administrative tracasseries just to name but a few.
According to liberals, competition is inevitable and good for countries. They believe an important advantage of competition is innovation. Contrary to the above arguments, protectionists believe competition is not good for an economy. They support that only big companies survive in a competition (i.e. small companies struggle or die).
This debate will, therefore, discuss the place of competition in Cameroon’s industrialization process. The main question to be answered is: Should Cameroon prioritize market competition to spur industrialization in the country?