oa Africa Insight - Cameroon: Jump-starting an economic crisis

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The 1980s were a harrowing decade for Africa - a lost decade in its attempt to triumph in these years of developmental challenge. But there was still a glimmer of hope, since the World Bank was arguing that some economies such as those of Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon were still growing. They were depicted as show-cases for other African economies that had shot off as it were on incorrect trajectories. Cameroon, for example, registered a phenomenal annual growth rate of 7 per cent in its GDP until 1986. This led President Ronald Reagan to refer to it as a ""shining example for Africa"". This view was also shared by some Africans and Africanists. Given the value of hindsight, it is evident that these assessments were overly optimistic. The Cameroonian growth miracle started petering out in 1986/87 as the GDP fell by 3 per cent.

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