SOCIOECONOMIC CRISIS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH OF CAMEROON
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Socioeconomic Crisis and Economic Growth of Cameroon have been noticed to be one of the malice that plagued the Cameroon society. The much turbulence such as unemployment, bad governance, poverty and disruption in basic social service delivery have been some of the many diseases that have been the common traits to the Socioeconomic Crisis and poor Economic Growth which has slow down development. Combating Socioeconomic Crisis and Economic Growth though slow has been a sure factor which the government and advocates of good governance have put up a fight to eradicate completely in Cameroon.
This study is aimed at evaluating the relation between socioeconomic crisis and economic growth in Cameroon. One of these questionnaires was used in the study to get information from the general public.
The questionnaires were administered for a couple of days and the simple sampling procedure was used to analyze the data.
Crises continue to be part and parcel of African societies since after the post-colonial era and this has affected economic development in Africa. The African crisis of the late 1970s has been transformed into what has aptly been called the African Tragedy. After the economic crisis of the late 1980s that was largely due to falling oil prices in the international markets, Africa is back on the fore front with political instability. The last one decade has been characterized by rising political tensions and dissenting voices across the continent. While Africa as a whole continue to witness rising terrorism largely due to governance issues, the world continue watching them helplessly, with international organizations having been reduced to paper giant with no ability, willingness or simply too slow to take decisive actions to break deadlocks (Arrighi, 2002).
Colonial legacy is the sum total of the political structure, culture and general polity handed over to the elite nationalist rulers or that which was left behind by the colonial administrators, “neo-colonial” nationalist leadership, which affected post-independent Africa and still has an impact on contemporary African States and politics. The colonial ruling style of oppression of the colonial administration that was imposed on African states by the new African nationalist rulers was not based on the choice, consent, will and purpose of the African people. In other words, and considering the fact that some post-independent rulers run their states as if it were their personal property, colonial legacy is the inheritance of the states that belonged to the colonial administration from this administration by the post-colonial rulers in Africa. (Asongazoh, 2010).
After South Sudan, Mali, Niger, Gabon, Nigeria, just to name these few, Cameroon is now at the centre of a rising political tension between one of the two main entities that form the very foundation of the Republic and the state to which they all belong. According to the International Crisis Group (2017), the recent spark of violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions points to an emerging insurgency, requiring urgent attention. Edstrom (1999) reported that while economic crisis are the result of sudden, unanticipated shocks, political crisis are usually expected given the behaviour of political agents. In Africa, believe in the forces of repression has contributed to aggravating conflicts. In many instances, repression has turned social conflict into political upheavals as we are currently observing in Sudan.
The crisis which started with well-founded socio-professional grievances by the Lawyers and the Teachers trade unions took a new turn when political interest groups later took interest in the social unrest. While many interest groups such as the United Nations, the African Union, and the civil society tried mounting high level pressure on government to yield to certain political demands, such pressure have yielded little fruits as the government has remained resolute in its stand. It followed that the political component of the crisis was of little interest to the government as repeatedly, they showed shadow interest in addressing it. According to Christian and Lynette (2012), there is rising trend in global unrest characterized by public demonstrations and riots or disruptive actions with far reaching consequences on the society.
The history of the conflict currently rocking the two English speaking regions of Cameroon which has moved from repeated ghost town calls to armed confrontation can be traced as far back as the early 1960s when the two territories decided to come together for a stronger state on equal terms. According to Nyamjoh (1997), the lack of political will by the ruling elites to preserve the two cultural/colonial legacies led to the feeling of marginalization by the minority Anglophones who started agitating for a return to a federal system of government in the 1990s. The complete refusal of the regime to discuss the subject led to growing separatist popularity in the region.
Many are also of the opinion that the “the Anglophone Crisis” dates back to the post-colonial era and specifically after the reunification of the two Cameroons formerly under the British and the French colonial administration. While cultural disparity in itself is not a problem, there are reasons to believe that the mismanagement of cultural diversity is the true cause of the present Anglophone crisis. Although Huntington (1993) observed that cultural differences bring conflict, it is the poor management of the diversity that really aggravates conflict. Contrary to popular opinions, Elbadawi and Sambanis (2000) noted that the relatively higher prevalence of war in Africa is not due to the ethno-linguistic fragmentation of its countries, but rather to due to high levels of poverty, failed political institutions, and economic dependence on natural resources. Many analysts have been quick to attribute the crisis in Cameroon to a falling attention given to the people of the former British Colonial entity by the central government. Conflict builds up when the sense of belonging in threatened and when people feel that what they deserve is not being given to them. Besley and Reynal-Querol (2012) provide evidence that historical conflict is directly correlated with lower levels of trust, a stronger sense of ethnic identity and a weaker sense of national identity. Thus, nation states are expected to deal with the problems of ethnic identity, while building a stronger sense of nationalism amongst its population. Brutality and military crackdown on dissenting voices has only helped to aggravate tension in many African states (Omeje, 2005).
The crisis that initially had some „force of argument‟ became very unpopular when activists started targeting school children, teachers, lawyers while calling for intensive school and court boycott. It has taken a little over two years of near complete school shutdown for many to understand the true nature of the crisis. Government took on the offensive when the political unrest degenerated into an armed conflict, with severe consequences on the separatists, military, paramilitary and the civilian population. Conflict as an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principle (Mengistu, 2015), with one feeling that her interest is at stake has for long been an issue of global concern because of its far reaching economic, social and political implications. Babbitt and Hampson (2011) argued that while conflict transformation and conflict settlement may have different political implications, they are both important in deriving relevant policies for a better world.
Despite the efforts of the government in handling the crisis, separatists succeeded to take control of well-founded socio-professional grievances by trade unions in the English Speaking regions to manipulate public opinions. The government was quick to criminalize and delegitimize issues relating to the political demands of the separatists
The purpose of this research is to understand the socio economic implications of the political crises in Cameroon, the role of the government of Cameroon in resolving the crises and challenges faced by the government.
The political instability in Cameroon today has hampered development in Cameroon especially the southern and northern region since there has been little opportunity for development planners to formulate and implement suitable development plans due to constant fighting, destruction of both physical and economic infrastructure and migration of people. The crises in the Anglophone region of Cameroon has degenerated into insecurity, weak administration, disrespect for the rule of law, loss of lives and assets, population displacement, food insecurity, poverty and disruption of social services delivery.
Gleditsch (2001) has shown that long periods of war prevent development in all facets of life. This is a direct result of the uncertainty of livelihoods; the incapacity to promote sustainable development in the areas of agriculture. The high rate of poverty reflects the prevalence of insecurity and the absence of basic infrastructure for getting the local economy rolling in that time of war. In war situations however, there is no formal employment although at the current situation where at least a small percentage of the population is engaged in government and business activities.
However, in the Anglophone regions, there is yet no study undertaken to concretely measure and describe the extent to which conflicts have negatively impacted on the development goals and aspirations of the people while the government claims there is no crises in the Anglophone regions.
In the education sector for instance there is just a small proportion of students in secondary schools in the Anglophone Regions because many have dropped out, many dead and inability for some to further their education because of the poverty brought by the crises.
It is in the light of the above that, this study examines the social impact and effects of conflicts on the development of the Anglophone Regions.
From the preceding problems, the researcher poses the following research questions;
- How has crises impeded human development in the Anglophone Regions?
- How have the conflicts affected socio-economic conditions and basic service delivery to the people/community in the Anglophone Regions?
- How has the humanitarian crises affected the social development of the Anglophone Regions?