Youth Employment Policy and Government Engagement In Cameroon

Youth Employment Policy and Government Engagement is vital for the growth and development of young people in Cameroon. One of the issues which would be discussed at the Limbe Eco-System Exchange is Youth Employment Policy and Government Engagement in Cameroon. In the following write up, Wilson Amah examines the Youth Employment Policy and the level of Government Engagement in Cameroon.

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In December 2004, the president of the republic took an important decision in favour of the Cameroonian Youth in creation of a ministry specifically in charge of the management and empowerment of the youths. This was due to the realization that made the youths a potential driving force towards Cameroon’s development. In order to implement the preset goals and targets of the ministry, the Head of State prescribed the formulation of a National Youth Policy.(MINJC CAB,2015). The national youth policy runs for both national priorities and international commitments of the Cameroonian government. The policy of 2006 priorities national youth development with the overall objective of building a prosperous and peaceful nation. It was formulated in a consultative process involving representatives of public institutions, civil society, UN agencies, private organizations, and youth movements. The government also created National Council of Youth of Cameroon in order to meet up with the youths demands.
It is of great interest to build the capacities of the youth by considering them from the standpoint of human capital so as to enable them better invest in future development projects. The National Youth Policy appears to be an efficient tool which is being used by the government to respond to the needs of the youths. However, despite all gains made so far through the youth employment policy, it is still certain that government can’t do it all alone. There is a limited engagement to build the entrepreneurial capacity of young people to create self-employment. This is a job-killer for a developing country like Cameroon whose private sector is predominantly made of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and a huge informal sector. Building the entrepreneurial capacity of young people is ensuring competitiveness for Cameroonian SMEs, and will equally ease the transition from informal to formal sector. More so, the young of people of this country are still confronted with a variety of difficulties that are getting more and more complex day after day.
Youth unemployment is amongst the many complex issues which Cameroonian youths are facing today and solving this problem is top on the wish list of the state. This explains why there is a lot of emphasis on vocational and professional training in order to equip youths with the skills they need to gain employment and to be self employed. There has been an upsurge in the creation of vocational training centers which would provide up to date training and would serve as a foundation for youths entering in to fields like engineering, agriculture, technology and sciences.
“Vocational training is the foundation for every meaningful development and copying the good side of policies for a change in society and most especially for a better number of Cameroon’s employment performance is nothing bad”, says the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, Zacharie Perevet. The government has also created other organs like National Youth Employment Fund (NEF), and runs programs like Rural and Urban Youth Support Program (PAJ-U), Youth Socio-Economic Integrated Project (PIFMAS), Integrated Support Project for Actors of the Informal Sector (PIASI) which offer different forms of support to the youths.
There is really no doubt as to the fact that, the Cameroonian government is making new strides in terms of youth employment policy and engagement given the different programs which have been created to create an enabling environment for youth innovation. As usual, the current debate is about the old issue of management of these programs and how to ensure there is the desired impact. Furthermore, given the number of youths who have been lured to carry out terrorist activities in the North of the country, youth policy experts are questioning the effectiveness of these programs in that part of Cameroon. Nevertheless, youth engagement remains a priority for the government especially as we edge closer to emergence in 2035.

Written by

Wilson Amah

1) 1; National Youth Policy; MINJEC CAB 2015
2) 2; Victorine Biy Nfor Cameroon: Youth Employment – Promising Sectors; Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé) 8 February 2016
3) 3; International Monetary Fund,Publication Services 700 19th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20431
4) 4; world bank ; August 2013
5) 5; Cameroon youth employment policy, 2011