30, July 2016
An important Cabinet Meeting was chaired Philemon Yang, Prime Minister, Head of Government, on Thursday 28 July 2016 in the Main Building of the Prime Minister’s Office. In attendance, apart from his close aides, were the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State.
Three items featured on the agenda, namely:
- a statement of the Minister for Scientific Research and Innovation on ‘the achievements and challenges of innovation in Cameroon’;
- a statement of the Minister for Mines, Industry and Technological Development on ‘Government’s technological development strategy’;
- a statement of the Minister for Post and Telecommunication on ‘the guidelines of the digital economy development plan in Cameroon’.
Taking the floor after the introductory remarks of the Head of Government, the Minister for Scientific Research and Innovation indicated that over the last few years, the National Research and Innovation System has achieved much at the policy, institutional, scientific and technological levels in terms of the development and dissemination of research results and innovation.
They include inter alia, the creation of improved seeds which enabled the Institute of Agronomic Research for Development (IRAD) to acquire close to a score of patents, also recently winning four (4) innovation gold medals at the Geneva International Invention Fair in Switzerland; the creation by the Institute of Geological and Mining Research (IRGM) of improved fireplaces, and solar/hybrid driers; the development by the National Institute of Cartography of a software that can avoid overlapping land parcels of mining operators; the production of paving stones from plastic waters and the manufacture of tar based on pozzolan.
Other innovations also emanate from private Cameroonian inventors. These include the CARDlOPAD, the EGUSI Cracking Machine and the production of eco- friendly charcoal from organic wastes. With regard to the challenges of innovation in Cameroon, the Minister in charge of Research said they consist especially in continuing the diversification of the process of transferring research findings to the economic sectors; fostering the culture of innovation and establishing financing mechanisms of the National Research and Innovation System – all of which requires synergy between the research community, businesses and investors.
Speaking next on Government’s technological development strategy, the Minister for Mines, Industry and Technological Development pointed out that, shortly after independence, Cameroon had set up on an experimental basis industrial units in the basic subsectors of the economy. That experiment demonstrated that no industrialization can take place without technological development whose corollary is intellectual property.
So, Government’s technological development strategy consists in linking research results to industrial production in order satisfy the needs of the population. At the operational level, this strategy comes with the creation of Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISC), seven of which have already been established. A programme to establish technoples was also launched in praticular in the ICT and Agro-industrial sectors. However, several challenges need to be addressed, especially systematizing technology-transfer mechanisms, financing innovative projects and attracting investors into the technological development sector.
Lastly, the Cabinet listened to the statement of the Minister for Post and Telecommunication who presented the guidelines of the Digital economy development plan in Cameroon. He pointed out that the plan hinges on eight thrusts, structured around three pillars: development of service supply; increase of demand by promoting the digital culture via the widespread use of ICTs ; and sector governance and regulation.
At the end of the ensuing discus sons, the Prime Minister asked the presenting Ministers to work in tandem to design thematic strategies covering the underlying issues of innovation, technological development and the digital economy considering the interactions among them. He also instructed the Minister in charge of Technological Development to systematically introduce obligatory technology-transfer clauses in contracts concluded with international providers. Proceedings were adjourned at 12:05 p.m. after consideration of various matters related to Government work.