The Nkafu Policy Institute, Think Tank at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation, invites Cameroonian experts to apply for the position of PANELIST during its public debates respectively scheduled for Thursday 11th March, Wednesday 21st April, Wednesday 19th May and Wednesday 16th June 2021 at Mansel Hotel- Yaoundé from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
This public debate represents 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 in general and doing business in particular.
The debate panel for each date will constitute two experts arguing FOR and two arguing AGAINST the proposition in 90 minutes. They will defend their point of views based on facts, statistics, and experience. There will be no PowerPoint presentation.
Please select the topic you will like to discuss. Female Debaters are highly encouraged to apply.
- STARTING A BUSINESS IN CAMEROON (Read the report) – Thursday 11th March
Debate topic: Is the Regulation framework a barrier to the success of new businesses in Cameroon?
Background: Under its framework of the Cameroon Business Forum (CBF) over the past 10 years, Cameroon has undertaken several reforms to improve its business environment to attract investors. However, there are many bottlenecks to improving the business environment in Cameroon to promote business creation. While efforts are made to ease the process of starting a business in Cameroon, there is a question of profitability and survival of these business. Certifications and standardization norms are among some of the regulatory policies needed in every formal economy for the protection of consumers. This seems to be affecting the profitability and survival of new businesses. It also seems to be a discouraging factor to entrepreneurs considering it is extremely difficult for some to meet up with these standards or certifications in terms of cost. The problem is making a balance between the fact that standardization norms and certification of products are important while considering the profitability and survival of businesses at the same time. Are standardization norms and certification of products difficult and expensive to get? Or are businesses simply reluctant to fulfil these necessary conditions?
This debate will explore the necessity and the role of regulatory norms on the success of new businesses in Cameroon. The main question to be answered is “Should the government relax regulatory norms in order to facilitate the profitability and growth of new enterprises in Cameroon?’’
- OBTAINING CONSTRUCTION PERMITS (Read the report) – Wednesday 21st April
Debate topic: Can the management of technical requirements by professional associations facilitate the process of obtaining construction permits?
Background: The government of Cameroon aims to attract both the local and foreign direct investment needed to boost its economy. However, corruption and excessive procedural patterns appears to hamper this objective. The ranking in dealing with the construction permit is one of the several doing business indicators that influences investments. This indicator is a significant rejoinder of too many bureaucratic patterns. Consequently, dealing with construction permits in Cameroon come with excessive bureaucracy, while other related challenges can be identified at various stages. In Cameroon, there exists the National Order for Civil Engineers with ten regional representations and registered members.
This debate seeks to explore the best way to ease the process of obtaining construction permits especially the required documents through the central question: “Can entrusting the process of obtaining all the technical documents to civil engineers registered under associations such as the National Order for Civil Engineers and other civil engineer associations facilitate the process of obtaining permits?’’
- OBTAINING CREDIT IN CAMEROON (Read the report) – Wednesday 19th May
Debate topic: Are credit bureaus absolutely necessary to facilitate the process of obtaining credit in Cameroon?
Background: It has been observed in several quarters that, obtaining credit in Cameroon is compounded by several bureaucratic teething issues. These issues appear to emanate from weak policies that create the difficulties encountered by potential investors at various levels in the course of their quest to obtain credit to finance their intended economic ventures. Among other difficulties such as several conditions to be met by credit seekers is the problem of information unevenness between lenders and borrowers which negatively affects the process of obtaining credits to both national and foreign investors. It is relatively complex for foreign investors to obtain concrete information on the conditions, procedures, duration, and required documents in getting credit from formal financial institutions in Cameroon. There is a weak credit reporting system largely attributed sometimes to the absence of information credit bureaus to reduce asymmetric information between banks and clients. Drawing from the success story of most western countries, public credit bureaus have filled this gab by providing information to both lenders and borrowers.
This public debate seeks to look at the ways in which the time period spent in the credit process can be reduced and made easy. The question here is: ‘‘Drawing from the example in other countries, are effective credit bureaus indispensable in resolving the problem of information and time in the processes of obtaining credit?’’
- PAYING TAXES IN CAMEROON – Wednesday 16th June
Debate topic: Drawing from comparisons with other African countries, does the corporate tax rate in Cameroon promote entrepreneurship and investment?
The corporate tax rate is a major determinant for entrepreneurship and investment. Entrepreneurs and investors are very much concerned with making profits and getting returns to their investment. They are very sensitive to specific economic factors that affect their ability to meet up with their growth and profitability objectives. Corporate Private sector tax is one of the most important factors that determine the rate of entrepreneurship and investment. In Cameroon, the corporate tax rate is 33%  (30% corporate tax and 10% communal tax) slightly lower as compared to the rate in other countries in Africa such as Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia all have a rate of 35% while higher if compared to Mauritius at 15%, Madagascar and Libya at 20%; Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Mauritania, Lesotho, Ivory Coast and Ghana all at 25% as of 2020. Corporate tax rate is also an important source of government revenue for most Countries, Cameroon included.
This public debate seeks to reconcile the corporate tax rate in Cameroon as an important source of government revenue and at the same time a determinant to entrepreneurship and investment in the economy. The debate will look at the impact of the corporate tax rate on the business environment in Cameroon. The question here is: ‘‘Drawing from examples of other countries with lower tax rates and higher tax rates than Cameroon, does the corporate tax rate of 33% in Cameroon favor entrepreneurship and investment?’’
- Applicants will respond to the call by clicking on a link and provide the required information in the online application form
- There will be no deadline. The call will be open till the last debate
- Publication of results? Debaters for the various topics will be selected on a rolling basis and contacted officially.
- Applicants will upload a professional photo and a curriculum vitae
- Their professional pictures will be used to produce an online flyer to communicate the event.
- This call is voluntary and participation in all debates is on a pro bono basis. However, this event is an opportunity to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. In addition, the two-fold benefit of participating in this debate will help not only in learning things outside a particular field about other areas of research in the same discipline, and this event will create a platform for professional development and career advice.
- Be a holder of at least a Master’s degree in Economics, Development, Business, Finance or any related field
- At least 30 years old
Applicants MUST be fully bilingual or understands their second language