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YAOUNDE, April 22 (Reuters) - Cameroon has adopted a plan to galvanise its struggling private sector in an effort to raise the economic growth rate to 6 percent this year, the Central African nation’s economy minister said.
Cameroon is an oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea and the world’s fifth largest cocoa producer. Its economy is one of the region’s largest but political stagnation has meant it is underperforming more dynamic neighbours.
Cameroon’s economy grew 4.8 percent last year and GDP growth is on course to remain unchanged in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund. This is well below the rate of 6.7 percent anticipated for the regional six-nation CEMAC bloc.
The IMF said last year that economic expansion in Cameroon was masking potential economic instability and that a lack of reform was stifling growth.
Cameroon’s private sector development is constrained by insufficient electricity, inadequate public infrastructure, red tape, and high fuel subsidies, according to the fund.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting in the capital Yaounde on Monday, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi said the government had adopted an emergency plan to improve the private sector’s contribution to economic growth.
The aim of this plan was to raise GDP growth to 6 percent in 2014, he said.
“The actions and measures adopted aim at improving the business climate, modernising production machinery, strengthening access and availability of factors of production, fostering access to financing and accelerating industrialisation,” he told journalists.
The government will also seek to improve the use of public investments and donor funding, he said.
Cameroon is seeking to achieve emerging market status by 2035, which would put it on par with countries such as Mexico and Malaysia.
President Paul Biya, in power since 1982, is one of Africa’s longest serving rulers. (Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)