It is an important component of the Growth and Employment Strategic Paper (GESP) adopted to run from 2010-2020.
Gaining full time employment in Cameroon just like many African countries may be a hard nut to crack as thousands of university graduates leave school every year. However, the government of Cameroon is not indifferent to the situation as it has put in place diverse measures to reduce unemployment. With unemployment rate around 4 per cent according to the National Institute of Statistics, President Paul Biya is bent on improving the trends through job creation oriented policies.
The Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), a government blueprint policy document designed to make Cameroon an emergent economy by 2035, gives prime importance to employment which constitute the second pillar of the strategy. GESP which has as a priority to accelerate growth and create jobs, induced several growth oriented infrastructure projects in the country which has provided 17,488 jobs according to 2016 findings of the National Employment Bureau (ONEFOP). The GESP adopted in 2010 acknowledges that if growth does not generate decent jobs, it would not be of satisfactory quality. Apart from the GESP, the government also adopted the National Policy of Employment validated in 2007 by the National Consultative Commission on Labour.
Inspired by the desire to curb unemployment rate among the active population (17-40 years), the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, instructed the recruitment of 25,000 certificate holders into the Public Service. The decision of the Head of State, announced in his traditional address to the youth on 10 February 2011, induced a new and positive momentum on the labour market with 25,000 youth effectively recruited on government pay roll. This move was seen as a tremendous feat to curb rising unemployment. Since their recruitment, government has not failed to pay them as critic’s propounded. Not even the difficulties economic situation in the sub-region marked by falling prices of crude oil and raw materials has dampened President Biya’s spirit of creating jobs for youth both in the public service and the private sector. Recently, 1,000 special bilingual teachers were recruited and posted in different schools in the country in fulfilment to President Biya’s promise last year as part of solutions to Anglophone teachers’ trade unions concerns. This, in addition to several annual recruitments into the public service.
Conscious of the fact the Public Service cannot absorb all job seekers, President Paul Biya and his New Deal government has not relented in inciting the private sector through policies that encourages investment and consequently job creation. The government is not only interested in creating jobs but also ensures that the jobs are decent. This is why in 2014, the government made an upward review of the minimum wage in Cameroon from FCFA 28,000 to FCFA 36,270. This year’s Labour Day theme in Cameroon “Social Dialogue: Factor for the promotion of decent work and socio-economic progress in Cameroon,” only lends more credence to Paul Biya’ resolve to promote decent jobs and social dialogue for a harmonious Cameroon.
The government also understood the main cause of unemployment in Cameroon which pundits attributed to the educational system. This is why reforms in the higher education system were introduced to render it more professional in order to meet the needs of the labour market.