The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a €63.09 million loan to Cameroon to promote entrepreneurship and improve skills to match industry needs.
Multinational partners, the private sector and the Cameroonian government will contribute approximately €2 million to the project cost, estimated at €64.93 million.
Covering five of Cameroon’s regions — Centre, Littoral, South, Southwest, and Far North — the project will improve skills and encourage entrepreneurship and youth and female employment in construction, transport, energy, agro-industry, ICT, and the green economy. Specifically, the project will directly strengthen 12 training centers and nine public and private entrepreneurship support facilities.
A lack of skilled human resources in Cameroon threatens the country’s industrialization process and the development of its economic growth. The project aims to get the private sector in Cameroon – in tandem with the government – involved in key structural measures: building technical and vocational training infrastructure and strengthening the capacity of stakeholders and the education system.
The private sector will contribute through three levers: the delegated management of vocational training centers, the establishment of a Vocational Training Development Fund and the funding of private initiatives backed by the Youth Project Development Support Mechanism, and the creation of a network of business incubators operating within promising sectors.
This should result in a greater quality of learning properly suited to the job market. It will promote self-employment and professional integration for young people, especially in the targeted growth sectors, and strengthen the institutional capacities of technical and professional stakeholders.
Two of the five regions in the project area have been affected by conflict: the Southwest (Anglophone Crisis) and the Far North (Boko Haram terrorist attacks). The project will help to improve the access that young people and women have to employment and better-paid activities. This will reduce the potential appeal of terrorist movements and build peace, thereby improving living conditions and economic growth in Cameroon.
The project will benefit 7,350 young people in apprenticeships by improving training courses to meet the job market’s needs, and 1,225 young entrepreneurs or project leaders in the five regions, who will be enrolled in an incubation program until they start their businesses.
The project will also significantly impact Cameroon’s socio-economic development. It could generate 28,000 additional jobs by 2050 (an average of 1,120 per year between 2027 and 2050).
The Bank’s funding is motivated by the need to support Cameroon’s strategic efforts to reduce the shortage of skilled labor in priority sectors.
The project aligns with Cameroon’s National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (NDS30) and two priority areas of the Bank’s 2023-2028 Country Strategy Paper for Cameroon: developing infrastructure to promote the agro-industrial sector and strengthening human capital and governance to improve the institutional and business framework. It also aligns with one of the Bank’s “High 5” strategic priorities – improving the quality of life for the people of Africa – and its new Ten-Year Strategy for 2023-2032, which is being finalized.