Is Market Competition Good For Cameroon’s Industrialization?
Organization Name: Nkafu Policy Institute (Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation)
Competition is a major pillar of free-market systems. Competition policy is about applying rules to make sure businesses and companies compete fairly with each other. It encourages efficiency, creates a wider choice for consumers and helps reduce prices and improve quality.
According to liberals, competition is inevitable and good for countries. They believe an important advantage of competition is innovation. Indeed, innovation spurs the invention of new and better products, or it helps to create lower-cost manufacturing processes. As a result, it drives economic growth, creates more employment opportunities and increases standards of living. Another advantage of competition is economies of scale and technology transfers. Companies can increase their global presence by operating in more and more overseas markets. Finally, competition can also help businesses identify consumers’ needs – and then develop new products or services to meet those needs.
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). According to them, small companies do not have all the extra benefits or capital to expand and outsource like large companies. In addition, protectionists argue that competition decreases market share and shrinks customer base, especially if demand for products or services is limited from the start. Consequently, companies are forced to lower their prices to stay competitive hence decreasing their return on each item they produce and sell.
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. Indeed, the secondary sector is only 15.6% of companies while the tertiary sector represents 84.2% of companies according to the second General Census of Companies (2016). Also, small businesses dominate the economic fabric in Cameroon as they represent 98.5% of the total of companies.
However, Cameroon faces major structural challenges and negative shocks including an alarming poverty level, government remaining the largest employer, the worsening security situation in the Nord West and South West Regions, the conflict with Boko Haram in the North Region, 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.
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?
Purpose of the event
The objective of this debate is to compare the views of different Cameroonian experts on the best way to spur industrialization in Cameroon.
This is a public debate on the theme: ‘‘Is Market Competition Good for Cameroon’s Industrialization?’’. Indeed, the limited numbers of industrialization projects in the country and their inefficient management drastically reduce their effects on people’s life. That is why some observers believe the economy should be opened to competition in all sectors in order to spur industrialization, economic growth and development. Others, on the other hand, support that Cameroon should protect its embryonic industries given the fact that 80% of companies die before 5 years.
This event will bring together participants from various fields of expertise: economists, government officials, speakers, entrepreneurs, humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics and researchers, students, the general public and civil society actors.
Number of participants
We are expecting 80 participants.
This event is open to the target audience with no registration or participation fee.
Areas of concern
Industrialization; Structural Transformation; Market Competition; Economic Development; International Trade; Economic Emergence; Public Policies.
At the end of this event, participants should:
- Understand the meaning of industrialization;
- Recognize the best path for an industrialized Cameroon;
- Understand the benefits and challenges of market competition;
- Comprehend the profits and problems of protectionism and liberalism;
- Apprehend the reforms needed for a successful industrialization strategy.
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