402 delegates attended the 2nd Pan-African project management conference, from 23. to 25.05.2018 in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. Having the Ministry of Economy, Planning, and development as a strategic partner of the conference showed the growing importance of project management in Cameroun which counts 24 million inhabitants and which aims at becoming an emerging economy by 2035.
After the success of the first Pan African Project Management Conference in 2017, the second edition in 2018 focused on the successful preparation of bankable projects in Africa. The objective of the conference was to better understand how projects could best be prepared in order to receive adequate financial means which remain a scarce resource in Cameroon. Financial means and good project management were in the focus of most presentations, with both national and international examples. Public-Private-Partnerships were highlighted both from a technical as well as from legal and environmental perspective. This in order to finance large infrastructure projects between 2010 and 2017 when the average growth rate of the economy reached 4%.
Since 2014 the growth rate went down. Today, the World Bank, Afriland First Bank, and many development banks try to support project financing under the condition that projects presented are bankable. This means doing more with fewer revenues. That is why Cameroon developed a new guide for public investments which are based on result based budgeting. Islamic banking, European Investment funds and financial means of the second generation are difficult to manage and need to be addressed in 2019.
400 delegates of the 2nd Pan-African project management conference, 23. to 25.05.2018 in Yaoundé
While some experts underlined the importance of the correlation between the wealth of a country and good project management, others insisted on having the courage to recognize and acknowledge mistakes. Uncertainty and risks need to be managed through risks mitigation plans. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”
It became clear that bankable project is never without risks and therefore good feasible studies and adequate technical, environmental and social due diligence was necessary. This was explained by IPMA (represented by its Executive Director Amin Saidoun) who was invited to underline the importance to create project management associations in order to foster the project management culture and profession in Cameroon. This, in turn, will help to train and certify project managers who will run bankable projects. Chinwi Mbere, President of the Nigerian member association of IPMA (PMDAN) shared the project management experience of the Nazerbayev University in Kazahstan. He underlined that combining Kazakhstani identity, best international educational systems and the involvement of the government at the highest level have helped to create both a huge infrastructure project as well as an educational model.
Other topics addressed by the speakers who were members of APM (association for project managers UK) were: good project engineering, the ABC of risk management, project governance, assurance in projects, the three lines of project defense (Management and controls, compliance and board and external stakeholders), from data to information and decision in project management.
Another speaker from the private equity sector of Mauritius explained the gap in infrastructure in Africa which represents 100 bn dollars according to Boston Consulting Group analysis. This means that there are huge opportunities for investments (especially foreign direct investments) both in the 53 African cities with more than 1,5 million inhabitants as well as in “rural smart”.
The conference was a great opportunity to meet a network of project managers in Cameroon interested in the creation of a project management association. This will hopefully be created either in Douala (the economic capital) or Yaoundé (the political capital) according to the association law of 1990 and then make the next move: apply to join IPMA.
Finally, the President of the conference Mr. Babissakana thanked 18 international experts for the 39 sponsors strategic partners, the 11 media partners (TV, newspapers, and social media), the exhibitors and the 402 delegates who attended the 14 plenaries during three days. IPMA supported the conference both with its network if international speakers, its advert in the conference catalog and the promise to do so also in the 2019 conference that will soon start to be prepared.
Congratulations to Babissakana to this great performance and to his contribution to the project management profession in Africa.
Speakers of the 2nd Pan-African project management conference, 23. to 25.05.2018 in Yaoundé (Cameroon), with Mr. Babissaka, President of the conference ( in the center)