A fine balancing act.

Author:Mohamed, Dounia
Position::Special Report: CAMEROON
 
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Cameroon, like many developing countries, is faced with a dilemma: it needs to transform its economy rapidly in line with its ambitions of becoming an emerging nation by the target date of 2035; yet it must do so now in a low carbon emission regime in order to fulfill its global responsibility. The detailed plan it has presented to COP21 shows that this balancing act is possible, and necessary, but the country cannot do it alone; it will need considerable international cooperation and financial support. Dounia Mohamed reports.

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Cameroon is more determined than ever to work towards transforming its economy and become a member of the emerging nations' club by 2035. The ultimate objective is not only to raise the living standards of its citizens but also to prevent the vicious downward cycle of poverty and underdevelopment which includes social instability and other security threats.

The country has drawn up a 20-year, economic transformation strategy which it believes will deliver the desired overall objective by 2035.

The road map consists of: a green revolution which will focus on raising the productivity of land and labour; industrialisation which will aim to double the contribution of the manufacturing and other secondary sectors from 19% to 38% of GDP; consolidation of the democratic process; fostering a spirit of national unity and sense of belonging

The end result of implementing this strategy will be a substantial reduction in poverty, the creation of new and sustainable jobs, particularly in industry and services, diversified output including exports, less dependence on oil and gas revenues and an expansion of trade within and outside the region.

An added imperative will be to achieve the target by the due date through ecologically and environmentally sustainable methods and respecting the human and natural diversity of the country.

Currently, Cameroon produces very low levels of greenhouse gases and is a negligible contributor to global emissions. But how does one achieve these ambitious development goals in a green way, given that Cameroon is feeling the impact of climate change and paying the price of addressing it?

The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)--these are the individual commitments submitted by the Parties, or member countries, to COP21--prepared by the Cameroonian government included a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 32%, a third of the current level in relative terms.

The plan aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Cameroon's development process without affecting growth, and rests on five pillars: agriculture (which remains the main driver of economic growth), forestry, energy and waste management, construction and transport.

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The success of this plan will depend on aggregation of material and human resources by the international community to help the nation in its efforts to protect the climate without jeopardising its battle...

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