Youth and Unmployment in Cameroon.


Employment in Cameroon is an issue for current debate. In the build build up to an Ecosystems exchange event in Limbe on the  9th of July 2016, Ashoka.

Change maker and  scholar Bongwong Justin Berinyuy critically examines the state

of youth unemployment in Cameroon as he publishes his work.

Youth and Unmployment in Cameroon.


Today Ashoka has given us a reason to hope that youth and their employment is a possibility than the old school of thought.

We are a network of social entrepreneurs-individuals with-system-changing solutions for the world’s most social problems.Cameroon Ashoka exchange event is a sign of hope for youths and employment in Cameroon.we stand today as Ashoka graduates of 2015 and  2016 and members of the African Change Makers Network(ACN) .

      Population and Geographic and economic analysis

   As of 1 January 2016, the population of Cameroon was estimated to be 23 636 676 people. This is an increase of 2.51 % (578 079 people) compared to population of 23 058 597 the year before. In 2015 the natural increase was positive, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 590 761 as declared United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:


Age dependency ratio

Dependency ratio of population is a ratio of people who are generally not in the labor force (the dependents) to workforce of a country (the productive part of population). The dependent part includes the population under 15 years old and people aged 65 and over. The productive part of population accordingly consists of population between 15 and 64 years.

This ratio shows the pressure on productive population produced by the dependent part of population.

The total dependency ratio of population in Cameroon is 78.1 %.

As we can see the dependent part of population is comparable to the working part. It means that each working person in Cameroon must provide goods for himself and cover expenditure on one child or aged person additionally. The value of 78.1 % shows that the pressure on productive population in Cameroon is very high.

Child dependency ratio

Child dependency ratio is a ratio of people below working age (under 15) to workforce of a country.

Child dependency ratio in Cameroon is 72.1 %.

Aged dependency ratio

Aged dependency ratio is a ratio of people above working age (65+) to workforce of a country.

Aged dependency ratio in Cameroon is 5.9 %.

Source: The estimation data for section “Cameroon age dependency ratio” is based on the latest demographic and social statistics by United Nations Statistics Division .


     Youth Unemployment is a great social problem and we want to seek for solutions in a synergy as our slogan says #No Future For Us Without Us. We have gained awareness and consciousness that is is a right and a civic responsibility to contribute to nation building by creating solutions to youth employment .For us by us! This event is the first ever event in Cameroon and we look forward to seek for solutions to youth employment and provide follow-up to start ups, collaborate, brainstorm and partnership to realize the dream together. Our umbrella is ACN as we all brainstorm in our social media events ,live events across the continent with 54 Countries represented.



   Mindful of the “The potential of youth’’ which declared that “young people bring energy,and talents and creativity to economies and no-one can afford to squander” Around the world ,young women and men are making important contribution as productive workers,entrepreneurs, and economic operators and that is what we wish for in Cameroon.According to the ILO in 2011 what young people are doing today will be a foundation of tomorrow.  What the article described as a global goal in the national challenge,ILO 2011.

    Reconciliation to youth employment

  Many young people in Cameroon stumble in their career steps ,due to poor information about world or work,leading to poor choices and education career. Today high crime wave is caused by unemployment.

According to a series of OECD( studies (summarised in OECD/ILO 2011,Giving Youth a better start). That is the way to Limbe event in Cameroon on the 9th of July 2016.  Realizing that …

-Youths are potential influencers of change as they shall been down to create opportunities with their own hands as entrepreneurs

– address, mentor and develop youth to solve unemployment

-We seek to project Young people as a talent resource

–  creating an everlasting solution in our lifetime to live behind as a legacy for future generations in Cameroon and beyond


-lack of skills relevant to the workplace though with certificates

-lack of spirit of entrepreneurship

-youth coming from families with low social capital hardly have jobs in corrupt enterprises

-Lack of experience

-lack of mentors and follow-up

-lack of a  synergy  to connect them . All these factors factors  contribute in making the youths in Cameroon the consequence of a lost generation and so many of them have been victims of crime wave. Some have been recruited by the insurgent group Boko-Haram.


Why hope for Cameroonian Youth employment with Ashoka team Cameron?

    Explains Bongwong Justin Berinyuy of Enough for All Organization as Pioneer Founder and Head of the advocacy and partnership committee of world merit Cameroon. Recalling a popular slogan in the ACN ….

#NO FUTURE FOR US WITHOUT US!( by Gabila Neba     head of the mission)

  We shall be gathering in Limbe with peers,friends,social innovators,economic operators,managers of SMEs,civil society organizations to simulate the future of work for youths by bring up innovative solutions to employment.

         The Ashoka value team work as individuals are part of a think-tank organization known as ACN , working in close collaboration with the Ashoka Foundation and Mastercard Foundation.

  • We want stand out for Cameroon as the Cameroon Ashoka pioneer team to create opportunities for youths buy the youths.(Alphonse Ashoka 2015)
  • We want sustainable start-ups and SMEs  that as socially responsible( Tewiy Ashoka 2015)
  • NGOs that respond to innovation and social entrepreneurship and not mere charity based on sponsor as per Bongwong Justin Berinyuy Ashoka 2016 .

   Limbe is therefore a threshold for youth employment. We have made preliminary studies based on the current statistics.After analyzing past reports on SMEs,world Bank Reports since 2001-2015, national reports like the employment strategy paper of the state ,we realize that a lot of work needs to be done. Studies shows that Unlocking the labor force : an economic update on Cameroon with a focus on employment  .Active ACN women like Yonga Nelly are a sign for a bright future for Cameroon. A lot of great minds across Africa like Rasak and Lois have motivated us with their great commitments with so many social entrepreneurs with great assurance that the future is a bright one.

With this Cameroon economic update, the World Bank is pursuing a program of short, crisp and frequent country economic reports. These economic updates provide an analysis of the trends and constraints in Cameroon’s economic development. Each issue, produced bi-annually, provides an update of recent economic developments as well as a special focus on a topical issue. The economic updates aim to share knowledge and stimulate debate among those interested in improving the economic management of Cameroon and unleashing its enormous potential. The notes thereby offer another voice on economic issues in Cameroon, and an additional platform for engagement, learning and change.

With the above information from World Bank Site we want to create a collaborative atmosphere in just an event ,coordinated from  across with the aim of youth employment. We stand firm formulating and presenting potentials solutions to improve the capacities of SMEs in Cameroon .

Based on our Analysis (SWOT) the Cameroon economy has a lot of potentials but will not be possible without the vision we want to put forward #No Future For Us Without Us!

With the present economic Scenario in Cameroon there is a lot to be understood before action and at such it warrants a study of the SWOT analysis (Strengths , weaknesses,opportunities and the threats ) Statistics shows that more that 50 percent of youths are unemployed and they make the largest part of the population following current statistics of about 24 million people.

  We want a 21th century Cameroon where youths are a solution than a problem. It is a time to provide a local solution to local problem. This dream is going to be a reality  as 30 percent of our resources  shall come from local government in it youth promotion policy, microfinance institutions ,partners and ACN network,MasterCard and Ashoka. International Monetary agencies have a rule also with other sources.  




-Agricultural Resources\

-Increasing technology

-potentials of H.E.P

-market and demand ..Cameroon Exports at 2230.68 CFA Franc Billion

-high importation potential with three sea-ports of Douala,Limbe and Kribi

-high deposit of mineral resources

-Oil and gas deposits e.g Bakasi and more than 100, 000 per day  oil barrels  in 1999  and fifth produces of Oil in sub-Saharan Africa.

-Growing tourism

-Natural resources

-Tourism and forestry

-Total Land Surface area of 457,000 Squares kilometres , with an estimated total  population of almost 24 million people.


The total dependency ratio of population in Cameroon is 78.1 %.  Statistics of 2016

Cameroon Corruption Rank at 130.00  ..



Corruption, including bribery, raises the costs and risks of doing business. Corruption has a corrosive impact on both market opportunities overseas for U.S. companies and the broader business climate. It also deters international investment, stifles economic growth and development, distorts prices, and undermines the rule of law.


Cameroon Corporate Tax Rate at 33.00 percent


-Poor transportation

Railways in Cameroon are operated by Camrail, a subsidiary of French investment group Bolloré. As of May 2014 Camrail operated regular daily services on three routes:[1]




There are no rail links with neighbouring countries

Of the operating maritime ports in Cameroon, Douala is the busiest and most important. Lesser ports include Kribi, used chiefly for the export of wood, and Limbé, used only for palm-oil exports. Garoua, on the Benoué River, is the main river port, but it is active only from July to September. In 2005, Cameroon’s merchant fleet consisted of one petroleum tanker, totalling 169,593 GRT.

-low efficiency and productivity

-lack of professional education

-corruption ,getting jobs due to acquaintance than experience and education

-tax as a disincentive to hard work

-Weak national currency

Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Its currency is the CFA franc. Unemployment was estimated at 30% in 2001, and about a third of the population

78 KB (7,757 words) – 15:16, 6 July 2016

-Poor internet connection

-poor rural electricity network and farm to markets roads to promote agriculture


-Possibilities of increase in investment budget due to the fight against embezzlement.

-Natural deposits Cameroon Gold Reserves at 0.93 Tonnes and

-Increase domestic and gas production  Cameroon Crude Oil Production at 105.00 BBL/D/1K

-increase in agricultural…Agriculture remains the backbone of Cameroon’s economy, employing 70 percent of its workforce, while providing 42 percent of its GDP and 30 percent of its export revenue.

-expansion of transport sector


-huge deposit of Natural resources  


-Terrorism from Boko-Haram in the North of Cameroon

-Transforming cameroon from Importer to exporter is difficult due to slow economic growth

-tax policy is an incentive to hard work…Cameroon Corporate Tax Rate at 33.00 percent

-Lack of youth talent promotion programs

-more priority is given to the old


-population of over 23 million people


-textile industry

-beverage production

-financial services

-retails  –Cameroon GDP at 29.20 USD Billion

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Cameroon expanded 0.05 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 over the previous quarter. GDP Growth Rate in Cameroon averaged 1.19 percent from 2010 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 7.10 percent in the second quarter of 2015 and a record low of -2.70 percent in the first quarter of 2015. GDP Growth Rate in Cameroon is reported by the Institut National de la Statistique du Cameroun.

-Inflation rate of 2.7percent (2015)


 The right to youth employment is a third generation right and the right to contribute to the development of our nation is a civil right. We have the opportunities to exploit these opportunities based on the discussed SWOT analysis





3:Issue No. 5 (January 2013): Mitigating poverty, vulnerability and risk (with a focus on social safety nets)

4:Issue No. 4 (July 2012): Stepping out of the World (with a focus on trade facilitation)

5:Issue No. 3 (January 2012): Unlocking the labor force (with a focus on employment)

6:”Cameroon.” The World Bank Group. <> 2011 and 2015


8:Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Cameroon, Central African 9:Republic and Chad. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

10:International Monetary Fund. Cameroon and the IMF. 11:> . Accessed August 2001.

12:Schatzberg, Michael G., and I. William Zartman, editors. The Political Economy of Cameroon. New York: Praeger, 1986.

13:U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. 14:> . Accessed August 2001.

15:U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Cameroon. 16:> . Accessed December 2000.—Alexander Gazis                                                 Read more:


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Check our blog www.ashokascholarcmr.wordpress.comfor regular daily updates on issues to be discussed during the event. Your insights on the topics are highly welcome.

                                                  BONGWONG  JUSTIN BERINYUY

                                           C0-FOUNDER EFAO & HEAD OF ADVOCACY

                                          AND PARTNERSHIP AT WORLD MERIT  CAMEROON

                                                 BA -Jurist /DPM/MBA-STUDENT

                                    @bongwongj /






Education 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 education and skills training amongst youths in Cameroon. In the following write up, Shudzeka Eric examines the educational system in Cameroon.


Cameroon defines its youths as “peoples between the ages of 15 and 35”.  According to this definition, the youths of Cameroon make up about 35.5% of the population.  Old people above 65 years of age represents 3.5% of the population. Those below 15 make up about 43%, and this shows that in the next 10 to 15 years, the Cameroonian population will be essentially youthful (NIS, 2014).  Despite these trends, youth unemployment and underemployment are still a great problem to Cameroon. One of the major problems cited is the lack of proper education and skills mismatch (Tewiy, 2015).

Education helps in preparing young people for adulthood. The transition to adulthood is a critical stage of human development during which young people leave childhood behind and take on new roles and responsibilities. It is a period of social, psychological, economic, and biological transitions, and for many young people it involves demanding emotional challenges and important choices. To a large degree, the future of our youths depends on how they can successfully negotiate through this critical period.royal pic

Education plays a crucial role in increasing labor productivity. The main pillars of a performing education and training system include:

  1. A solid basic education providing people with a set of basic skills, including literacy and numeracy, as well as soft skills to easily adapt to changing labor market conditions;
  2. Quality technical and vocational education, providing practical skills that are directly applicable on the labor market;
  • A balanced higher education system which offers programs at various levels (including short post-secondary programs), directly linked to the needs of the labor market, and facilitating the absorption of new research and technology (IMF, 2012).

The quality of education in Cameroon leaves much to be desired in terms meeting up the aforementioned pillars of a performing education and training system

Education in Cameroon has two dimensions: General and technical education.  It is within the technical system that soft skills are taught through vocational training programs.  However, enrolment in the vocational training programs is low.  More so, very important sectors of the economy have very little training programs and so low enrolment, such as agriculture with just one percent of the total enrolment in Cameroon (NIS, 2014).Picture2

The situation is perpetrated by the fact that apprenticeship is done informally with no legal framework for guidance and it is therefore difficult for private firms to partner with training institutions.  In addition, societal views on certain jobs do not help the situation.  Most parents view those who go to technical schools as weak students.

This situation has given rise to the opening of a plethora of higher institutions of learning providing education in the technology and business fields.  Lack of funding, infrastructure and qualified lecturers is hampering their growth.  This coupled with the inability to develop a proper curriculum that meets the basic needs of the Cameroon labor market.

The way forward will be to critically review the Cameroon education landscape and build a new curriculum that is adapted to our development realities.  One way of doing this is to form partnerships with prominent industries and companies to help define their human resources needs in the nearest future.  This, with other policy innovations, will then be translated to a curriculum that will place our youths in work and improve the economic situation of Cameroon.

Also, entrepreneurship education should be introduced at all levels into the education system.  I remember when in primary school we always had a day for art work. This fostered the spirit of creativity, which is the brain child of entrepreneurship.  Of course this cannot be done in all areas of the country, but variants could be applied depending on the context.

This, is the education we need!

Written by Shudzeka Eric Tewiy, MBA

Treasury Accountant, Bamenda Airport

National Training Officer, Association of African Entrepreneurs, Cameroon

Ashoka Changemaker Fellow, 2015

Winner of UN online volunteer of the year award, 2013

E mail:


IMF (2012). Unlocking the Labor Force, an Economic Update on Cameroon. Cameroon Economic

Update, issue no 3

National Institute of Statistics, Cameroon (2014). Annuare des Statistiques du Cameroun 2014.

Available at

Tewiy, Shudzeka Eric (2015). Funding and Youth Entrepreneurship: The Case of PIAASI and

PAJER U.  Unpublished MBA thesis, Rome Business School

Our Way to Limbe

Today’s generation of young people – defined by the United Nations are those aged 15 to 24 – is the largest in history. In most African countries, the range increases to 30 and this means about 60% of the population is considered to be youths with the percentage growing as the years roll on.  Young people have power and persistence.  In  the  right  conditions,  a  substantial  young generation  offers  to  a  country  a  priceless  resource  for  economic  development  and  social progress.  However,  in  the  current  climate  and  for  differing  reasons,  many  developed  and developing countries are struggling to provide their young people with a future, either in cities or in rural areas. The young generation of today has shown that, given the opportunity, it can move mountains.  Young  people  have  embraced  new  media  and  used  it  to  make  their  voices  heard.

Most organizations nowadays have developed specialized youth development programs to give young people a chance to be key actors in development.  This  was  the  case  when  in  2015,  a partnership  between  Ashoka and the Mastercard Foundation gave birth to  “Future Forward‟  an online professional development course with theme ; The Future of Work in Africa; Innovations in Youth Employment which would be offered once a year for six weeks. The course though in its infant stages has  had a remarkable  impact -with  more than 200 different trainees  from  more than  30  different  countries  in  just  its  second  year.  It  has  provided  a  platform  for  stakeholders from different areas in youth development to discuss the way forward for Africa’s youth and the role young people can play in an ever changing and demanding 21st century. Economists have often  described  the  youths  of  Africa  today  as  an  important  tool  in  the  development  of  the continent with most calling it  a “population boom‟ however household names like Tony Elumelu have warned about the dangers of this “population boom‟ becoming a “population doom‟. Fred Swaniker,  Co-founder  of  the  African  Leadership  Academy  explains  the  role  of  this “population boom‟ when  he talks about the fact that, the next generation of African leaders have two major responsibilities;  build the capacity of our  institutions and create the  jobs  in our economy. In a bid,  to  continue  this  task  of  gathering  changemakers  across  the  continent,  the  course organizers/producers  came  up  with  “Future  Forward  Ecosystem  Exchanges‟  with  the  aim  of identifying and convening innovators, thought leaders, and youths to talk about solutions that can move Africa forward. From Harare to Accra, Johannesburg to Lagos, future exchanges have brought together leaders who are pioneering innovations and providing sustainable solutions to society’s most urgent needs.

The last of this Future Forward Ecosystem Exchanges would take place in the coastal  city  of  Limbe,  South  West  Region  of  Cameroon  on  the  9th  of  July 2016.  Limbe, formerly known  as  Victoria,  occupies  a  special  place  in  the  history  of  Cameroon  because  of  its pre-colonial and post colonial  heritage. It’s also home to SONARA-the National Oil Refinery and most football fans would remember OPOPO United (One People One Power) a club with a rich history and one of the early beacons of hope for the sport. It’s close to Buea, described by the BBC‟s Tamasin Ford as a growing tech hub in the continent. From Limbe, it is easy to have a view of Mt Cameroon and a less than 1 hour drive to the nation’s economic capital Douala, the plantations  of  the  Cameroon  Development  Cooperation  (CDC)  which  are  spread across Tiko, Muyuka  etc.  So,  what  would  innovators  and  change  makers  be  up  to  when  they  anchor  their boats on the shores of the Atlantic on the 9th of July 2016? Gabila Franklin Neba ;  a passionate waterpreneur  and  pioneer  Ashoka  Scholar  –  was  amongst  two  participants  from  Cameroon selected for the  first session of the course in 2015 and is the Ashoka Future Forward Coordinator for the  Ecosystem  Exchange  Event  in Limbe. ‘Cameroon has often been described as Africa in miniature given the vast riches of our country and the most popular economic debate is about vision 2035. Most of those who would create and manage the investments that would propel our nation to 2035 are the youths of today.  We  feel  that  gathering  all  these  multi-talented Cameroonians  from  different  backgrounds  to  examine  the  issues  affecting  the  country  and propose  long  term  solutions  is  important  for  development.  As such, our hope is that Limbe would be an”Egypt‟ where we can begin that journey to the promise land (2035) and contribute our own quota to the emergence of our country‟ he explained. In the course of this week, we shall explore different issues with regards to the Cameroonian context about youth employment as we begin our way to Limbe. Indeed, like Marcel Proust says “The real voyage of discovery consists not only of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

Written by Akouyu Alphonse                                                                                                                                                                                   2016 Ashoka Changemaker Scholar – Cameroon (

Extracts from-Viewpoint 2011; Putting young people first; Creating opportunities in rural areas for  young  women  and  men  by  Kanayo  F.  Nwanze  President  of  the  International  Fund  for Agricultural Development.