By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Nkafu Policy Institute at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation designed this special one-week (5 days) intensive training course to equip young scholars (26 young Cameroonians) with critical thinking about free enterprise, government transparency, and fiscal accountability.
This 2021 session represent the 3rd edition of the training course which ran from the 15th to 19th March 2021 at the Foundation’s Headquarters in Simbock-Yaounde in collaboration with Atlas Network.
Ten modules were taught to the participants such as why free enterprise matters (Dr Louis-Marie Kakdeu); Policy research and Policy Options (Dr William Arrey); Policy proposal (Dr William Arrey); Fundamentals of Business Management (Madam Fri Asanga); Finances Publiques (Dr Jean Cedric); Policy Impact and Evaluation (Dr Emmnauel Sunjo); Policy Briefs and op-Edsa (Mr Henry Kouam); Policy Analysis, Policy Gaps (Dr Louis-Marrie) and Transparency and Governance (Dr Steve Tametong).
Speaking on the fundamentals of Business Management, Fri Asanga, Interim CEO of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation said: “Every business, be it profit or non-profit, must have the following components; administration, management, the production aspect, customer service, marketing and human resources. Anytime you think of a business, think of these.”
A free enterprise economic system according to the Nkafu Policy Institute stimulates competition amongst private businesses and helps in the safeguarding of an economy where small businesses can thrive, being largely free from government control.
“A good policy proposal may have other pieces but the issue it is addressing, the analysis and the recommendation must be there, clearly stated,” Dr William Arrey, senior Fellow in Peace and Security said on Policy Proposals.
“Some policies do not solve and might even worsen the issues they are out to address because they were poorly developed,” Dr William Arrey added.
In Africa, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up about 90% of businesses. They contribute to 36% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cameroon. According to the Ministry of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft, Cameroon would be an emerging economy if SMEs were to contribute 50% of the GDP.
However, SMEs in Cameroon face several obstacles that prevent them from growing and catalyzing a system that generates economic opportunities for all. The various obstacles faced by Cameroon’s SMEs include high tax rates, administrative bottlenecks, corruption, access to finance, and access to electricity just to name but a few. Therefore, there is an urgent need for liberating enterprises to advance prosperity in Cameroon.
Speaking on the module on Policy Briefs and Op-eds Henri Kouam, Economic Policy Analyst at Nkafu said: “The notion of policy goes beyond planning and commitments in law and strategies to include the implementation of plans and execution of strategies.”
He added: “You can develop very good and intelligent policies but the challenge comes with implementation.”
Dr Ahanda Sosthene on Business Creation said: “The technical aspect, including business model, business plan, cash flow and risk analysis but also the legal, legislative and regulatory aspects are very important in starting a business.”
“Transparency is undergoing a profound shift in the digital age. Everything is made public in real-time and the screen (leak of administrative documents, Wikileaks cables). Government is not harmed by excessive transparency? Dr Steve Tametong said when talking about Transparency and Governance.”
At the end of the course, the participants were divided into three groups with the supervision of Ulrich, Marlyse and Odette. The topics to be handled by the participants include a topic on governance and transparency in Cameroon; a topic on business issues/failures in Cameroon and a topic on free-market issues in Cameroon.
About The Nkafu Policy Institute
This course is a product of the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation. The Nkafu Policy Institute is a Think-Tank comprising seasoned scholars and practitioners in various social and natural science domains, at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation, which focuses on undertaking independent analysis to inform public debates on social problems.
Its mission is to engage in reasoned non-violent advocacies in public policies that help all Africans to prosper in free, fair, and democratic economies. The Institute has distinguished itself as a leading research centre in Cameroon, totally and patriotically committed to promoting open debates that build consensus towards a democratic future in African societies.
Essentially, within this background, the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation, which houses the Institute, was established to catalyse Africa’s economic transformation by focusing on social entrepreneurship, the overall economic performance, science and technology, innovation, public health, and progressive public policies, which systematically create and increase life-saving opportunities for all, and most importantly, the entrenchment of desirable human progress, prosperity and generalised happiness, irrespective of one’s ethnic, religious, political or cultural affiliation.