CAF withdraws AFCON2019 from Cameroon: socio-economic impact on the dying economy
CAF withdraws AFCON2019 from Cameroon
Cameroon has been stripped of the right to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations after serious delays with its preparations and in the midst of a violent separatist rebellion near two planned venues.
The Confederation of African Football made the decision on Friday after a meeting of its executive committee. Its president, Ahmad Ahmad, announced a new bidding process was to be opened.
Countries have until the end of December to submit bids for the tournament, which starts in June.
Morocco, which lost out to a joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid for the 2026 World Cup, has been touted as a replacement host.
CAF said in September that there was a “significant delay” with the building of stadiums and related infrastructure but gave Cameroon a final chance by planning two more inspection visits in October.
One of those was to assess the security situation after an escalation in violence in the south-west and north-west of the country involving English-speaking separatists and government forces.
The news of CAF withdrawal of AFCON2019 hosting right from Cameroon came as a stormy shock to Cameroonians worldwide. The news has been taken with mixed feeling although 80% of Cameroonians are conspicuously happy suggesting that at least the humiliating decision has become to remind the 86years old president Paul Biya and his 36years old CPDM regime. (The Guardian reported)
What Socio-economic impact on Cameroon’s dying economy?
Haven basked in the glory of reverences such as Africa miniature, the Giant of central Africa, the pillar of CEMAC, Africa’s football powerhouse, the country of the lion man. The country Cameroon is passing through perilous times.
A study from African Development Bank, Economic outlook revealed that Cameroon has long been resilient to shocks, but its economy is showing early signs of a slowdown. GDP growth has been steady since 2010, averaging 5.8% from 2013 to 2015 before falling to 4.7% in 2016. Lagging oil and gas prices resulted in postponement of investment in exploration and production, which led to a decline in extractive activities.
The recession in Nigeria, the widening crisis in CEMAC, and unrest in the country’s English-speaking regions hurt domestic and external demand. These headwinds lowered the growth rate to an estimated 3.4% in 2017.
However, the outlook beyond remains positive, with growth projected at 4.1% in 2018 and 4.8% in 2019, spurred by higher exports to the European Union following an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and increased energy supply due to new hydroelectric dams. Other tailwinds affecting growth include the development of forestry and agro-industrial value chains, as well as a reduction in imports in favour of local products.
Analyzing the Cameroon economy from the angle of the ADB projections above, as a socio-political blogger, it will be unrealistic to maintain the projections that the Cameroon economy will experience growth up to 4.8% in 2019.
Since the positive projections are based on increase in exportation, increase energy supply and increase in development of forestry and agro-agro industrial value chain, a critical look at the Cameroon economy presently leaves these projections wanting
First, one of the biggest state exportation cooperation the Cameroon Development Cooperation (CDC) is struggling with production stagnation due to back clash between Cameroon military and Ambazonia liberation forces.
Second, the economy of Nigeria which is Cameroon’s number one importation partner is still struggling with recession issues. In fact, this September 2018, the monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has warned that Nigeria may head for another economic recession due to weak economic fundamentals currently visible in the economy.
Third, Cameroon is suffering from seeming to be incurable debt since 2017 of over FCFA 5,383 billion at the end of May 2017 and this debt increase by over FCfa 1,000 billion in five months, Business in Cameroon revealed.
Mr Aka John Ako is a Cameroonian political analyst and a Business consultant. Talking to munang.net, the audacious orator said
“Cameroon has incurred a lot of loans because of the hosting of this continental jamboree (AFCON2019) for things to turn out now that she won’t be hosting it is very catastrophic to the state which in the last 3months due to pressure has borrowed whooping amount of money to finance infrastructural projects”
“As a business consultant business owners right now come to me explaining their frustration and seeking plan B to save their businesses due to this sudden disappointment from CAF. It is quite embarrassing but we blame it all on bad governance, reactionary governance in the 21st century is uncalled for”
Still, on individual losses, local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, bars, travel agencies, transportation agencies, media houses, entertainment moguls and touristic agencies are suffering the greatest shock ever.
Jarvis Bisong, a hotel manager in Yaoundé, spoke to Daily Nation on Friday and said he secured a loan from a microfinance institution and started renovating his hotel ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) football tournament.
He said the renovation works to cost $17,000 (Sh1.7 million) were supposed to end by February 2019.
On the day the bad news was declared, that Cameroon will no longer host AFCON2019 on Friday 5:30 pm, Munang.net was at the Douala administrative centre Bonanjo. And this is what we gathered as reactions
“This is unbelievable! What will now happen to the giant stadia under construction in the country it means the directors general of the projects will just embezzle the money as usual”. Said an angry Cameroonian
“This is to tell ‘Cumcruma’ (President Paul Biya) that he is just the president of the constitutional council and not the president of CAF”. Exclaimed another Cameroonian while sipping a bottle Kadji beer.
“You guys are just being childish who is CAF in front of the president of the republic? The president had spoken already that he has taken the engagement and AFCON 2019 will be well organized by Cameroon and that is final, who is Ahmad Ahmad to disqualify a whole Cameroon”. An optimist furiously voiced out
Worst still, the crisis that is at the fore of the disqualification decision is still waxing stronger. The humanitarian needs caused by the Anglophone crisis are far-reaching. While the government planned an estimated budget of CFA12.7 billion for 74,994 people over the 2018-2019 period. The UN Office for Humanitarian affairs earlier announced the need of US$15M to assist internally displaced and refugees in Nigeria.
Biya’s begging trip to China only got him CFA1.7 billion from Xi Jinping.
Lastly, one of the key players to get AFCON2019 organized in Cameroon has been seriously wounded by the sad news. The world class footballer and Africa’s richest footballer of all time Samuel Eto’o was due to organizing a gala match for charity 5 days before the launch of AFCON 2019
To make this gala of his taste, the football billionaire had booked world superstars in the likes of Rihanna, Messi,Ronaldihno,Neymar ,Puyol,Deco,Toure , Essien, Capello, Ronaldo Nazario, Hazard,Iniesta, Deco, Abidal, and Zaha to come and grace the ceremony.
All in all the socio-economic impact of the withdrawal of AFCON2019 from Cameroon will be unforgettable.