Monday, July 16, 2012

Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction in Africa

By François Nkankeu, RoadtoRioPlus20, July 12, 2012

There is a lot of talk these days about Sustainable Development and Poverty reduction. A component of the developing process in Africa is to help leaders stand on the right path to sustainability in various domains, so that they can feel confident about what they themselves are able to achieve. Many Africans, including leaders and high ranked personalities can’t feel they can achieve development entirely on their own. They keep counting on others.

Colonization in Africa had long favored an education that did not reflect the realities of the environment. With the independence that occurred a little over fifty years ago in most cases; education was mainly intended to form essentially bureaucratic elite supporting the cause of the master, the colonial, with little concern about effective development of the continent. This situation forced many African states to depend almost entirely on outside influence. Soon an unparalleled economic and social crisis occurred.

The international community took the opportunity to aid countries with high requirements from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who imposed SAP as a solution. Employees have experienced declines in wages and compression; youth unemployment has skyrocketed, forcing them to survive on resourcefulness. This is an ongoing crisis that still affects Africa and hinders its development efforts.

Many states have been forced to accept the dishonorable status HIPC (highly indebted poor country) from the International Community. They remain in that status, without recourse and without assistance. This acts as a paradox, when one refers to the very high potential of raw materials coveted and exploited by northern neighbors. Add to that the wealth of Africa's natural resources of all kinds, it is difficult to understand why the vast majority of people in Africa live on less than 1000 Francs CFA ($ 2) per day.

To try to get by, several countries have tried for some years to propose solutions to the situation. The Action Plan of Cameroon for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction will illustrate this.

The Government of the Republic of Cameroon has adapted steps directed towards the recovery of the national economy by the Sustainable Development in order to better cope with the situation. Many projects were established to help young people create jobs to fight against poverty. These include among others:

- The National Employment Fund (FNE) that guides and trains young people of all categories for their insertion into the circuit of employment.
- The PIASSI that funds with very low interest projects soon to start activities.
- The Formalities Centre and Business Creation that promotes entrepreneurship in 72 hours listening to administration.
- The effort PAJER U Department of Employment and Vocational Training and Youth

Private sector plays an important role as well; some Microfinance Enterprises have facilitated the transfer of money and people in the region. Some like, Express Union have created broad coverage of the territory, facilitating the transfer of money between people, significantly benefiting rural communities. Since 2006, Express Union has offered a significant microfinance service, helping farmers obtain small loans and for youth to start their own businesses. Some other private efforts have been Crédit Communautaire d’Afrique (CCA) and Groupement des Industriels du Cameroun (GICAM), which have helped finance sustainable development and establish small businesses.

Despite these efforts, it is painfully obvious that much effort must be made in human resources. Sensitizing men and women on issues related to sustainable development and poverty reduction requires above all a new array of education and adequate training.

Sustainable development is a project, a purpose, a vision that must emerge from consciousness efforts. It is a trust that one’s actions then will keep the harmony of the environment now and tomorrow. New African leaders will be able to achieve some of the goals expressed by youth during Rio+20 after being properly educated on sustainability in the future of their nations.


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