This deficit is mainly due to the effects of the ongoing socio-political crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of the country.
The security crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon has a significant impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Indeed, it led to a loss at the national level of 0.8 percentage points of (GDP) growth in 2019 and 0.3 percentage points in 2020. "These growth point losses correspond to a cumulative real loss on GDP, at the national level, of 421.3 billion CFA francs between 2017 and 2020," explained Paul Tasong, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of economy, Planning and Regional Development (Minepat).
According to the website Invest in Cameroon, in front of the deputies, the Minepat delegate who presented the Reconstruction Plan of the North-West, South-West and Far North regions to the National Assembly revealed that it is the declines recorded in several sectors of activity that are responsible for this underperformance. The most paralyzed sector is the agricultural sector. Regarding the banana sector, one of the priority economic sectors of the South-West region before the crisis, production started from 125,019 tons in 2016 to 16,897 tons in 2019, with the complete cessation of the activities of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) during 2018. "However, production resumed in 2020 to reach 21,132 tonnes. In the first half of 2021, nearly 16,272 tons had already been produced," the minister explains. For the paddy rice sector, it experienced an average annual decline of 14.5% between 2017 and 2019, before recording an increase of nearly 10% in production in 2020.
The minister said the crisis has also had a significant impact on public spending. "A significant number of projects could not be executed during the period 2017-2019 for a total amount of 16.4 billion CFA francs, despite the increase in budget allocations during the said period. With this in mind, the implementation rates of the BIP, based on scheduling, in the North-West and South-West regions remained relatively low (with an estimated average of 64.4% and 68.2 respectively) between 2017 and 2019 before experiencing a significant increase in 2020 (83.7% and 89.9% respectively)," he said.
About 45% of the cocoa produced in the country is grown in the Southwest, and 75% of Cameroonian Arabica coffee comes from the Northwest, according to the national employers' organization, Gicam. According to the NGO Human is Right, based in Buea, the regional capital of the South-West, the crisis has led to a 70% increase in the unemployment rate in agriculture in this region.