Nkafu Debates 3: Should Cameroon Become A Totally Free Market Society?

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There has always been a debate regarding economic paradigms to implement to develop countries around the world. A major debate opposes free market partisans and nationalists. According to the first group, the main advantages of a free market economy is the presence of competition which enable resources to be oriented where there are most efficiently utilised, increase in consumers choice which increases his utility, the absence of bureaucracy and red tape. This reduces administrative costs to the business and hence the benefit from the reduced cost could be injected into other endeavors such as research and development. Besides, market economies have helped to reduce poverty worldwide as 80% of human beings lived in extreme poverty during the early 20th century, compared to just over 10% today reference . Moreover, in free-market systems, companies innovate, develop new products, and offer new services to meet consumers’ demands.

Contrary to the above arguments, non-free market partisans believe that in free-market systems, it is possible to observe massive monopolization at a much faster scale. In other words, companies can become so powerful that their demise will ruin the economy and the consumer’s ability to get the products that they need. They further argue that companies will also be able to undercut all of their competitors and end up being able to charge whatever they want for their products. Consequently, this current of opinion gives more priority to government interventions in the economy to promote economic welfare.

Cameroon is facing major structural challenges and negatives shocks including an alarming poverty level, government remaining the largest employer, the worsening security situation in the Nord-West and South-West Regions, the conflict with Boko Haram in the North Region, and the recent currencies crisis as a result of excessive imports. To solve these issues, some economists in Cameroon believe that free-market reforms should be prioritized; while others believe free-market reforms cannot save the country but instead worsen the current situation.

Based on this background, and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area, a question arises: What is the best economic paradigm for Cameroon: government interventions or free-market reforms?

Purpose of the event

The objective of this debate is to compare the views of different Cameroonian experts on the best economic paradigm for Cameroon.

This is a public debate on the theme: ‘‘Should Cameroon become a totally free-market society?’’. Indeed, some observers believe that only free-market reforms will save Cameroon. Others, on the other hand, believe that free-market reforms will instead worsening the current situation in the country.

Target audience

This event will bring together participants from various fields of expertise: economists, government officials, speakers, entrepreneurs, humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics and researchers, students, the general public and civil society actors.

Number of participants

We are expecting 90 participants.

Participation fees

This event is open to the target audience with no registration or participation fee.

 Areas of concern

Economic Development; International Trade; Free-Market; Economic Paradigm; Economic Emergence; Public Policies.

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