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New study attributes 15% of Cameroon’s GDP to Yaoundé

16 December, 2021
New study attributes 15% of Cameroon’s GDP to Yaoundé

Addis Ababa, 16 December 2021 (ECA) – A new study, produced by the Yaoundé City Council with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), for the time reveals that Yaoundé accounts for about 15 per cent of Cameroon’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The study breaks new ground by quantifying the annual contributions of Yaoundé to the Cameroonian economy. The findings will contribute to a new regional guideline on city GDP estimation, currently being developed by ECA, which draws on the lessons emerging from Yaoundé and other pilot cities in Africa.

Once published in early 2022, the guideline will serve as a capacity-building tool and an instruction manual for local and national governments to regularly measure and monitor the contribution of their cities to their national economies. Local governments will also be able to use the city-level data to inform urban planning, economic policymaking and investment decisions.

The Yaoundé City Council presented the study at a multi-stakeholder workshop in Yaoundé on 14 December, where local government officials, national accounts specialists, data experts and urbanization practitioners endorsed its findings and reviewed the applied methodology.

Fresh insights

According to the findings, Yaoundé represented at least 15 per cent of Cameroon’s economy from 2013 to 2020. The city maintained an average annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent in the same period.

The services sector accounted for the largest share – on average 34 per cent – of Yaoundé’s GDP since 2014, while the informal sector contributed 16 per cent to the city’s economy. At the same time, the contribution of the industrial sector remained comparatively low.

Recognizing the economic challenges, the report recommended that the city authorities should introduce incentive policies to develop its industries and reduce informal activity, which would boost tax revenues, fair competition and productivity.

Localizing city GDP practice

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Messi Atangana Luc, Mayor of Yaoundé City Council, said: “From this study, it will be possible to know the contribution of the city of Yaoundé to the formation of the national GDP. This knowledge could attract investors and make the city of Yaoundé more attractive. Several other analyses can be made, such as that of the level of economic resilience of the city of Yaoundé compared to the national level.”

He continued: “All this will lead to the development of urbanization policies that are more modern, more resilient and above all more respectful of the environment. Hence, knowledge of sub-national GDP becomes a strategic issue in managing the development of urbanization at the city level. In this way, Cameroonian cities can effectively become engines of inclusive growth.”

The Mayor thanked ECA for its tailored technical assistance and expressed his intention to make the city GDP estimation exercise a regular activity for improved urban planning.

Addressing the workshop, Mr. Tidjani Chetima, a Social Affairs Officer at ECA’s Urbanization and Development Section, said: “While African cities are engines of economic growth, a significant portion of their economic potential goes underutilized due to poorly planned and managed urbanization. To unlock that potential, we need disaggregated economic data at the city level to inform policy targeting and investment decisions, which largely does not exist in Africa.”

He added: “We have teamed up with local and regional partners to offer technical assistance to a few African cities, including Yaoundé, on their city GDP estimation. We are hopeful that the findings of this exercise will play a crucial role in the economic development of Yaoundé and will support the city’s efforts in creating jobs, reducing inequalities and improving living standards.”

This study is the first-of-its-kind report produced for Yaoundé, which opens up a much wider domain for the city GDP estimation in Cameroon. The findings of the report will guide the city’s urban planning interventions in the future.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826