Yaounde, 5 June 2018 (ECA – www.uneca.org/sro-ca) – Experts are at work to thread together Cameroon’s action plan for optimally integrating urbanization concerns into the country’s National Development Plan, at an exercise to fructify about two years of consultations with the Economic Commission for Africa and UN-Habitat, on the matter.
They are meeting in one of the five national training workshops that ECA, in collaboration with UN-Habitat, is organizing across Africa, under the 9th tranche of the UN’s Development Account – a funding pot meant for specific development programs in Africa (the other countries benefitting being Chad, Morocco, Uganda and Zambia).
This far, several experts from development related ministries, private sector and civil society stakeholders, have been decorticating ECA’s policy support guide for decision makers on integrating urbanization in national development planning and are mapping it to a case study on urbanization and development in Cameroon, released in July 2017, to piece together the country’s national plan of action.
In a plenary session, a passionate debate ensued about whether it was not wiser for Cameroon and other African countries with limited finances to try and control the expansion of cities so as to halt rural exodus and minimize the undesired consequences of inadequate urbanization planning. The overarching submission, was however that urbanization could not be stopped; the only choice is to manage it through proper short, medium and long-term planning which are mainstreamed into overall development planning.
Afterall, cities are supposed to be centers of productivity – meaning that urbanization should be shaped into an economy-enhancing process rather than mere social happenstance, as Ms. Semia Guermas de Tapia, the project coordinator explained to both the audience of experts and the press.
It was revealed during the foundational discussions of the workshop that more than 70% of Cameroon’s population will be in the cities by 2050, hence the need for serious work to factor how cities will operate as poles that engineer structural transformation and sustainable, inclusive development.
Three personalities kickstarted the workshop by abundantly speaking of the pertinence of managed urbanization as a key ingredient for Cameroons development: Mr. Njie Thomas Kinge, Director of North-South Cooperation and Multilateral Organizations in the country’s Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (who officially opened the workshop), Ms. Mama Keita – Head of ECA’s Data Centre in Central Africa and Mr. Takougang Sipliant – UN-Habitat’s focal point for Cameroon.
The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 222504348 / 222504315 / 222504321
Abel Akara Ticha – Communication Officer
Tel: 237 222504348