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Facilitating the Process of Construction Permit, Crucial for Cameroon’s Economic Growth

The Nkafu Policy Institute in Yaoundé has organized a public debate on the processes of obtaining  Construction permits in Cameroon as a crucial factor seeking to fast track economic growth in the country. This second edition of the Nkafu Public Debates was  on Friday June 18th 2021 at the Mansel Hotel, Fouda, Yaoundé-Cameroon. 

The Panel Discussion under the theme Obtaining construction permit in Cameroon: Is the interference of professionals associations necessary?”  brought together experts in the field of business and business administration and moderated by Dr Vera Kum of the Nkafu Policy Institute. it had as objective to examine Cameroon’s past performance in the Doing Business Index, particularly in terms of facilitating construction permits;   critically assess the legislation and administrative procedures for obtaining construction permits while assessing  the appropriateness of transferring the processing and issuing of building permits to professional associations such as civil engineers and architects and to identify and propose policy recommendations to facilitate the process of obtaining construction permits and improve the business climate in Cameroon. 

Opening the session, the Chief Operating  Officer at the  institute  Dr Fri Asanga said the debate was within their framework of the doing business index project that started in 2019, stating that this index is an internationally recognized mandate that tracks possibilities and  climates of starting and doing businesses worldwide, while  stating that Cameroon scored 46 points out of 100 in the last ranking making it in the 167th position out of 190 economies under the mandate. She said one of those factors that would contribute to economic growth include the obtaining of building permits, a process that is highly affected by administrative bottlenecks. She also said the debate had as objective to examine the necessity  of obtaining valid construction permits and how convenient is the administrative environment towards such initiatives. Working on four thematic areas, the first area sought to know the Cameroon ranking of obtaining construction permits, situation analysis, a gender dimension of obtaining permits and how favorable are the procedures towards attracting foreign investment

a concept not from the institute says a resilient and adaptable infrastructure is necessary for economic development. In other to realize such projects, individuals are required to obtain a building permit. The building permit the Nkafu Policy Institute says ,  is a preliminary declaration that allows for the verification of a construction initiative in a given locality, in line with town planning and architectural rules in force. In Cameroon, this document issued by the local council authority is mandatory for any possible new construction or modification of an existing infrastructure. Therefore, any construction without an official permit is liable to a penalty of 30% of the estimated cost of the building.     

The  Nkafu Policy Institute also said according to Law No.2004/003 of April 21, 2004, governing the Cameroonian Urban Planning Code and the decree of 23rd April 2008; the process of obtaining this document has been considerably shortened. Yet, it remains quite complex. This complexity it says  is evident in the plurality of procedures, requirements, norms, offices, conditions, actors, documents, and stakeholders involved in the process. All these are accompanied by the heavy financial burden, time-consuming processes, boycotts, administrative bottlenecks and corruption; all of which lead to unorganized and slow urban development. Moreover, within this complexity is the reality that such mechanisms differ from one place to another across the national territory; thereby creating some sought of uncertainty, non-uniformity, and lack of trust in the system. The improvement in the issuance mechanism of Construction Permits in Cameroon is very vital for a country that has the ambition to achieve its economic emergence by 2035.   

To issue the document, the administrative and technical bodies ensure that future infrastructure comply with town planning regulations, whether it concerns the layout of the works, their nature, their location, the architecture or the development of their surroundings. They equally check if the work plan has been established under the responsibility of an architect registered with the National Order of Architects of Cameroon. Law n° 2004/003 of 21 April 2004 governing urban planning in Cameroon, stipulates in its article 107 paragraph 1 that the building permit is obtained “…after verification of its conformity with the rules of art and urban planning rules in force”.   

Despite the reforms undertaken in the urbanization sector in Cameroon (2014, 2016, 2017), many bottlenecks still mar the process of obtaining building permits. In particular, there are governance issues. Excessive procedural patterns seem to hamper the realization of the objectives set by the government of Cameroon to attract much needed local and foreign direct investment to the country. Other related challenges are the real costs of obtaining permits, delays, land issues, corruption and influence peddling.      


  • Abondo Antoine Rollin, Civil Engineer
  • Dr. Steve Tametong, Democracy Fellow, Nkafu Policy health Institute
  • Abanda Jean Rogwer, Civil Engineer, Polytechnician E-MBA Strategic Management
  • Etie Lionel Makoge, Magistrate Supreme Court

Informed  of all these difficulties, and  the crucial importance of construction permit as  one of the indicators that informs the business environment of a state, the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation, is organized the session in order to get experts perspective on the issues concerned. The experts said, the necessity cannot be overemphasized which comes with much stakes including the respect of local contraction laws and an environmentalist perspective of construction processes. They also encouraged stakeholders to involve the civil society most especially professional associations in the processes of obtaining building permits instead of allowing the whole process to be managed by the state. This they say will ease the formulation of legal frameworks and mechanisms guiding the procedures.

Source: Bantu Voices

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