Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Cameroon

Master's Thesis, 2018

155 Pages, Grade: A










1.0. Introduction
1.1. Background
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Research Questions
1.4. Objectives
1.4.0. General Objective
1.4.1. The Specific Objectives are:
1.5. Research Methodology
1.6. Literature Review
1.7. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
1.8. Significance of Study
1.9. Justification
1.10. Scope of Study
1.11. Definition of Terms
1.12. Synopsis

2.0. The Concept of Development
2.1. The Concept of Economic Development
2.1.0. Meaning
2.1.1. Economic development differentiated from economic growth
2.1.2. Measuring Development
2.2. The Concept of Environmental Protection
2.2.0. Meaning
2.4. The Nature of Sustainable Development in International Law
2.5. The Debate

3.0. Legal, Policy and Institutional Framework for Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa
3.0.0. History and Framework of Environmental Protection under the African Union
3.0.1. Structure and Functioning
3.0.2. Environmental Issues Specific to the AU’s Legal Framework
3.0.3. Institutions and Movements under the AU, specifically relevant to Environmental Protection
3.0.4. Judicial Framework
3.1. Legal, Policy and Institutional Framework of Environmental Protection in Cameroon
3.1.0. The Legal Framework International Level National Level:
3.1.1. Institutional Framework Public Other Sectors Judicial
3.1.2. Progress So far

4.0. The Role of the Rule of Law in Environmental Protection and Economic Development
4.1.0. Agriculture and Forestry
4.1.1. Energy and Waste Management
4.2. The Role of Civil Society in the Protection of the Environment
4.2.0. The Media
4.3. The Role of the Judiciary
4.4. Possibility through a Green Economy and the Impact on Business and Trade

5.0. The Environmental Protection regime as a Possible Neo-Colonial tool
5.0.0. Arguments against Sustainable Development
5.0.1. Arguments for Sustainable Development
5.1. Discussion
5.2. Conclusion
5.3. Recommendations



- Arbitration Regarding the Iron Rhine ("Ijzeren Rijn") Railway, between the

Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, May 24,

- Gabcikovo – Nagymaros Case (Concerning the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Dam), 25 September 1997, (Hungary v Slovakia) I.C.J. Rep., 37 I.L.M. (1998)

- Lake Lanoux Case (France and Spain), Ad Hoc International Arbitral Tribunal, November 16, 1957, United Nations Reports of International

- Pacific Fur Seal Arbitration: Behring Sea Fur Seals Fisheries Arbitration

- The People against Bertrand Brink and Groupement Cooperative Bruns

- The People against Bissong Daniel Akwo (CFING107C/03-04)

- The People against Tame Soumedjong and Satramick Ltd

- Trail Smelter Arbitration: Trail Smelter Arbitral Tribunal Decision 11 March 1941, American Journal of International Law, vol. 35




- Law No. 65-LF of 12th November 1965 Introducing the Penal Code (as amended by Law No 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 Relating to the Penal

- Law No. 76/25 of 14 December 1976 to Establish Regulations Governing

- Law No 77/15 of 5 December 1977 on explosive materials and detonators.

- Law No. 80-22 of 14 July 1980 to Repress Infringements on Landed Property

- Law No. 19 of 26 November 1983 to Amend the Provision of Article 5 of

- Law No. 85-09 of 4 July 1985 to Lay Down the Procedure Governing Expropriation for Public Purposes and the Conditions for Compensation

- Law No. 89 of 29 December 1989 on toxic and dangerous wastes

- No. 94-1 of 20 January 1994 to Lay Down Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

- Law No. 96-6 of 18 January 1996 To Amend the Constitution of 2 June

- Law No. 96/12 of 5 August 1996 on the Framework law relating to themanagement of the environment (the Environmental

- Law No. 96/14 of 5 August 1996 on the transportation by pipeline of

- Law No. 98/3 of 14 April 1998 to lay down special fiscal measures relating

- Law No. 98/5 of 14 April 1998 to lay down regulations governing water

- Law No. 98/15 of 14 July 1998 on dangerous, unhealthy or inconvenient

- Law No. 99/13 of 24 December 1999 to institute the Petroleum

- Law No. 2001/1 of 16 April 2001 to establish the Mining

- Law No. 2002/003 of 19 April 2002 on the General

- Law No. 2002-13 of 30 December 2002 to Institute the Gas

- Law No. 2003/003 of 21 April 2003 on phyto-sanitary protection

- Law No. 2003/6 of 21 April 2003 governing safety in modern biotechnology

- Law No. 2004-17 of 22 July 2004 On the Orientation of

- Law No. 2004-18 of 22 July 2004 To Lay Down Rules Applicable to

- Law No. 2004-19 of 22 July 2004 To Lay Down Rules Applicable to

- Law No. 2006/015 of 29th December 2006 on judicial


- Decree No. 76-165 of 27 April 1976 to Establish the Conditions for Obtaining

- Decree No. 76-167 of 27 April 1976 to Establish the Terms and Conditions

- Decree No. 84-311 of 22 May 1984 to Lay Down the Conditions for

- Decree No. 87-1872 of 16 December 1987 to Implement Law No. 85-9 of 4th

- Decree No 95/466/PM of 20 July 1995 to lay down conditions for the

- Decree No. 95/466/PM of 20 July 1995 to lay down conditions for the

- Decree No. 95-146 of 4 August 1995 to Amend and Supplement Certain

- Decree No. 95/531/PM of 23 August 1995 to lay down conditions for the

- Decree No. 95/678/PM of 18 December 1995 to institute an indicative

- Decree No. 97-116 of 1997, The Pipeline Law.

- Decree No 99/681/PM of 18 October 1999 to lay down conditions for the enforcement of Section 71 (1) (new) of Law No. 94/1 of 20 January 1994 to lay down the regime of forests, wildlife and fisheries.

- Decree No. 99/818/PM of 9 November 1999 to lay down conditions for the setting up and operating of dangerous, unhealthy or inconvenient

- Decree No. 2002/648/PM of 26 March 2002 to lay down conditions for the enforcement of Law No. 2001/1 of 3 September 2001 on the organization of

- Decree No 2005/577/PM of 23 February 2005 to lay down conditions

- Decree No. 481-2005 of 16 December 2005 and Decree No. 2005-481 of 16 December 2005 to Amend and Supplement Some Provisions of Decree

- Decree No. 2008/64 of 4 February 2008 to lay down conditions for the management of the National Fund for Environment and Sustainable

- Decree No 2009/410 of 10 December 2009 on the setting up, organization

- Decree No 2011/2581/PM of 23 August 2011 to lay down regulations

- Decree No. 2011/2583/PM of 23 August 2011 to regulate noise and odour

- Decree No. 2011/2584 to lay down rules on the protection of soil and

- Decree No. 2011/2585/PM of 23 August 2011 to establish the list of harmful or dangerous substances and rules governing the deposit of substances into

- Decree No. 2012/2809/PM of 26 September 2012 to lay down the conditions of sorting, collecting, storing transporting, recovering, recycling, treating and

- Decree No. 2013/171/PM of 14 February 2013 to lay down rules governing he implementation of the Environmental and Social Audit.


- Ordinance No. 74-1 of 6 July 1974 To Establish Rules Governing Land Tenure, including amendment of 1977.

- Ordinance No. 74-2 of 6 July 1974 to Establish Rules Governing State

- Ordinance No. 99/1 of 31 August 1999 to supplement some provisions of Law No. 94/1 of 20 January 1994 to lay down the forestry, wildlife and fishery


- Order No. 1/MINEPDED of 15 October 2012 to lay down conditions for obtaining an environmental permit for waste management

- Order No. 2/MINEPDED of 15 October 2012 to lay down specific conditions for the management of industrial waste (toxic and/or dangerous)

- Order No. 3/MINEPDED of 15 October 2012 to lay down specific conditions for the management of medical and pharmaceutical wastes

- Joint Order No. 4/MINEPDED/MINCOMMERCE of 24 October 2012 on the regulation of the manufacture, importation and marketing of

- Joint Order No. 5/MINEPDED/MINCOMMERCE of 24 October 2012 to lay down specific conditions for the management of electrical and electronic equipment and the elimination of waste from such equipment

- Instruction No. 005/1/Y.25/MINDAF/D220 of 29 December 2005 to Recall the Basic Rules About the Implementation of the System of Expropriation for a Public Purpose


- Hague Conventions on the Laws and customs of war on land and in the sea of

- UN Charter (1945)

- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 30Oct

- Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948

- GENEVA CONVENTION for the Amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field (12 august 1949) and its Additional Protocols I and II of 8th June 1977

- GENEVA CONVENTION for the Amelioration of the condition of Wounded,

- GENEVA CONVENTION relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12

- GENEVA CONVENTION relative to the Protection of civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 Page 60, 61

- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966.

- African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

- The Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage

- ‘Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment’, Stockholm,

- The Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES – Washington, March 1973)

- The MARPOL Convention relating to Pollution from Ships (1973)

- Agreement on the Joint Regulation of Flora in the Lake Chad Basin

- The Bonn Convention on Migratory species (1979)

- The Abidjan Convention on Cooperation in the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and Its Coastal Areas of the Region of West and Central Africa (23rd March 1981) and its Protocol

- The Central Africa Countries Cooperation Agreement on Wildlife Conservation

- The International Tropical Timber Agreement (1983)

- African Charter on Human and People’s Right (The Banjul Charter)

- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

- The Montreal Protocol on the Control of Chlorofluorocarbons (September

- The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-border Movements of hazardous Waste and their Disposal (1989)

- International Labour Organisation Convention on Asbestos, No 162 of 1986,

- The Bamako Convention on the Ban of Importation into Africa of Hazardous Wastes and the Control of Trans-boundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes in Africa (1st Jan 1991)..

- Abuja Treaty creating the African Economic Community (AEC) 1991

- The Phyto-Sanitary Convention for Africa (1992)

- The Rio Declaration on the Environment and Sustainable Development

- The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity (1992)

- Rio Declaration on the Environment and Sustainable Development

- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (June 1992)

- United Nations Convention on the Fight against Desertification (June

- The Cartagena Protocol on the Prevention of Biotechnical Risks Relating to the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)

- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Jan 1994

- Convention on Biological Diversity (1994)

- Maatricht Guidelines 1997.

- The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (Dec

- The Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Applicable to Some Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Sept 1998)

- Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Trans-boundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa (1998) .

- Sirte Declaration of 9th September 1999

- AU Constitutive Act 2000Page 52, 53, 58

- The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty)

- The Stockholm convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (22nd May

- New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) July 2001

- African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

- The Treaty on the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (5th April 2005).

- Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statements of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of all Types of Forests

- The Conference of Ministers in Charge of the Forests of Central Africa (COMIFAC) Convergence Plan 2014

- African Maritime Transport Charter (1994 and Revised 2010 version)

- African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally

Displaced Persons in Africa (2012)


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten



1.0. Introduction

Sub-Saharan Africa is the geographical area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara desert. According to the UN, it constitutes all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara desert;1 and this totals almost the entire African continent. In terms of natural resources the region accounts for one of the richest in the world and according to the World Bank its economic growth was forecasted to accelerate to 5.2% in 2014; driven by increasing investment to exploit the region’s natural resources and development of infrastructure.2 Meanwhile in 2017 growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) alone was estimated to be 4.1percent.3

Cameroon makes up one of the countries of the Sub-Saharan region, usually referred to as ‘Africa in miniature’ due to its abundant and diverse natural resources. Its GDP in Real Growth Rate was estimated at 4% in 2017;4 and despite experiencing economic recessions, (particularly between the mid-1980s to the early 2000s5 ) the country is still one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in Sub-Saharan Africa with its oil reserves and favourable agricultural conditions.6 All of these are what is expected to contribute in boosting the country’s growth and development.7

It is therefore recognised that for economic development to be realised, a region or nation must be able to make valuable and substantial use of its natural and human resources. This has been observed to constitute a fundamental tool for the Sub-Saharan region in fully attaining its growth potential.8

Nevertheless, amidst this call to explore the region’s potential are the concerns about environmental degradation and therefore the need for environmental protection. Concerns of global warming, climate change, ozone depletion, natural resource depletion, over population, air pollution etc which are all problems highly associated with man’s activities and the exploitation of natural resources. As such, for centuries now various strides have been made internationally at creating awareness and ensuring that countries do not simply engage in random economic developmental projects, but that such projects have some environmental protection undertone. This has been the case for the international community, for the Sub Saharan region and for Cameroon.

1.1. Background

The duty and desire to improve the economic and social well-being of a people existed even before the reality of a properly constituted structure like a State. This has been possible through the use of nature’s resources available for man’s subsistence and survival. For one thing, concern for the environment has remained the interest of man from time immemorial and has over centuries emerged to gain international attention through the growth of international environmental Law. The persistent consumption of the earth’s resources by the late 1960’s began to see serious concerns being expressed about growing evidence of environmental degradation and it was realized that this degradation was closely linked to unsustainable levels of economic development and population growth.9

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm came up with a pivotal document; The Stockholm Declaration10 which set out a number of Principles and an Action Plan on how to go about addressing environmental issues. This was followed by several other bilateral and multilateral international environmental law treaties and by 1987 the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) put forward a strategic paper titled “Our Common Future”. Also called the Brundtland Report, it brought environmental concerns to the formal political development sphere. Placing it on the political agenda, it aimed to discuss the environment and development as one single issue.11 The report considered the deplorable state of the world which highly contributes to environmental degradation and this environmental degradation in turn amplifies the devastated nature of prevailing global conditions. This was typical of the increasing poverty in the developed world. It therefore suggested a proposal for change in strategies for economic advancement.12

This Report introduced the idea of Sustainable Development which it defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”13

It therefore became necessary to ensure that laws, policies and strategies, direct patterns towards this type of development, the so-called Sustainable form of Development14. This has increasingly been the trend of development for the Sub-Saharan region, and Cameroon in particular, with the ratification of several international and regional environmental law instruments prescribing relevant modifications in developmental patterns. Cameroon for example is signatory to over thirty international environmental law treaties, has over twelve ministries involved in environmental protection, includingmany laws, judicial and administrative structures to enforce environmental protection policies.

Unfortunately, despite the several attempts to achieve economic development whilst also protecting/sustaining the environment, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) notes that Cameroon still ranks 153rd out of 188 countries on the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) report and 23rd in Africa. This demonstrates a disconnect between the country’s economic resources and its level of economic growth and development; raising a question as to the ability of these environmental laws to adequately guarantee the type to socio-economic and political stability the society aims at.More so, it should be remarked here that to achieve the anticipated economic development will require the vast exploitation and consumption of these natural resources which environmental law seeks to protect.

Indeed it has been recognised that developed countries have been able to attain their high level of development through the consumption of their own resources. This constitutes a fundamental reason why from the onset developing countries have been especially concerned that an international effort to protect the environment would come at the expense of their own development. Could the call to conserve nature’s resources in Africa be seen as a neo-colonial scheme amongst others aimed at ensuring that the ‘poor South’ remains subservient to the ‘rich North’ or is it undisputedly an effort to guarantee survival for all with specific concern for those who possess the surplus natural resources?How therefore can the Sub Saharan region and Cameroon effectively work towards building a strong and viable politico-social economy whilst also guarding against resource depletion and environmental unsustainability?

1.2. Statement of the Problem

With the concerns for environmental protection rising, the Sub Saharan region and Cameroon in particular have begun to engage in developmental projects which are geared towards environmental protection. These includeamongst others, reverting to the use of renewable forms of energy, reducing the amount of natural resource consumption, adopting more strategies for forest conservation; all culminating inrefining policies, laws and strategies to conform to the novel standard.

However, to an extent these governments are still hesitant at reforming the status quo, as they fear that prioritizing environmental needs will stand in the way of their own economic advancement; since this will require the sacrifice of many profitable projects for the expected development to be attained. On the other hand, they nevertheless continue to make environmental commitments without properly understanding how to blend in the developmental needs of their countries with those of the environment.This finally neither results in the expected development nor help guarantee environmental sustainability for their people. In the long run the fundamentally ill-calculated decisions yield poor results and only help to grow the poverty cycle.

The problem which therefore exists is the inability of the Sub-Saharan region and Cameroon to properly manage the need for preserving the natural environment together with the desire for economic advancement, as reflected in the weaknesses of the several legislations that exist.

1.3. Research Questions

To address the problem raised in this work, the following questions shall be considered:

- What is the relationship between environmental protection and economic development,
- What successes and failures so far exist in the attainment of environmental protection and economic development in the Sub-Saharan region and Cameroon in particular?
- Looking at present developmental trends in Cameroon has the desire to meet environmental commitments impaired economic developmentor should one be prioritised over the other?
- In the light of the foregoing, is there a need for reform in policy, strategy, legal or institutional paradigms to properly guide the country and region towards its vision of growth?

1.4. Objectives

These include a general objective and specific objectives.

1.4.0. General Objective

The goal of this study is to refine our current understanding of what possibilities there are in achieving both environmental protection and economic development in Sub Saharan Africa through the respect of the rule of law, taking into consideration the recent trend of events and the pressing needs of this region while using Cameroon as a case study.

1.4.1.The Specific Objectivesare:

- To establish the relationship between environmental protection and economic development;
- To determine whether theseveralpieces of environmental protection legislations in Cameroon have a negative impact on businesses and trade and therefore consider the impact oneconomic development;
- To examine whether environmental protection needs can be reconciled with the need for economic development in Cameroon
- To consider whether the international calls for restrictions on the use of environmental resources is a neo-colonial strategy which when combined with exploitation of local resources restricts the level of economic growth and development within the region and Cameroon.

1.5. Research Methodology

This study makes use of the Qualitative method of research, involving an in-depth content analysis of both primary and secondary data in the relevant area of study. In essence, the methodology is largely doctrinal and it adopts an analytical approach in the interpretation of primary data sources such as relevant statutes and law suits at the national and international levels. The secondary sources include legal articles, text books, encyclopaedia, journals, theses, reports, publications as well as internet.

1.6. Literature Review

The purpose of a literature review in this work is to seek what has been written with regards to commitments to environmental protection in the Sub Saharan region and Cameroon and how these efforts affect economic developmental plans and strategies. This review aims at establishing the extent to which previous studies and research in the area have been done and specifically the findings of the authors about the prospects for both concepts of economic development and environmental protection in this region.

The first work in this regard isKalembaMwambazambi’s ‘ The Complexity of Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and Reduction of Poverty15 which addresses the need for collective effort to reduce poverty and to achieve socio-economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. He notes that poverty is the main cause and consequence of man-made environmental degradation in Africa. Quoting Walter et al in ‘ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystem & Human Well-Being: Synthesis ’,16 he points out that “environmental degradation and poverty are inextricably intertwined. The consequence of this linkage is a vicious cycle in which poverty causes the degradation of the environment, and such degradation in turn perpetuates more poverty”. In his view therefore, as a recommendation for the Sub Saharan region, all the policies, legislation, regulations and by-laws designed to protect the environment must also lay significant emphasis on improving the standard of living and consequently well-being of the poor. This is particularly so because the poor in sub-Saharan Africa live predominantly in the rural areas, rely upon the resources obtainable from their immediate environment for sustenance, and hence, are severely affected not only by the poor living conditions but also by the effects of environmental degradation. Indeed, just like Ngonda in ‘ La pauvreté et la protection environnemental17 he emphasises that the meaning of the right to a satisfactory environment includes, inter alia, an environment free from pollution and ecological degradation, and of such quality that it can secure not only ecologically sustainable development but also the use of natural resources. This is “because, it is not possible to forego growth and community transformation in the name of conservation of natural resources or for the sake of preserving an unaltered natural habitat.” Such actions aimed at protecting the environment “by diverting resources from development might in the long run prove to be self-defeating, since they might reduce development and limit the magnitude of resources ultimately available for improving the human environment.”18

GIZ in a report titled ‘ Green Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lessons from Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria ’however points out that Sub Saharan Africa is yet to understand how to take advantage of the potentials and opportunities provided by the strategies for environmental protection in order to address its economic developmental needs.19 That is, how to use the opportunities provided by green growth and a green economy in its favour, to promote economic development.

The gap that emerges from this review is that the authors do not elaborately demonstrate the relationship between these forms of development to show how the one affects the other. The literature also does not do a thorough analysis through a legal perspective of the prospects for environmental protection through the combination of all related factors. These entail resources, political and socio-economic state of affairs, environmental and economic needs, progress made so far at realising these needs, the international and domestic engagements, economic and environmental plans for the future as well as other related aspects of growth and development. Further, the authors do not seek to analyse a possibility that the stringent environmental protection regime imposed on Africa could be considered a neo-colonial strategy.

Moreso, most of the authors bringing a Cameroonian perspective have done an exclusive analysis on one sector of development only, such as forestry, the rights of indigenous people, agriculture, mining etc. Some of such literary works by reference include DieudonneAlemagi on “Sustainable development in Cameroon’s forestry sector: Progress, challenges, and strategies for improvement20 ; Alden Wily on “Whose Land Is It? The Status of Customary Land Tenure in Cameroon21 which reviews the forestry legislation of Cameroon in order to identify the legal status of customary land interests; Kofele-Kale in “Asserting permanent sovereignty over ancestral lands: The Bakweri land litigations against Cameroon22 examining the violation of the right to land and natural resources using the case of the Bakweri people against the Cameroon government; etc.

The current research seeks to explore the relationship between the concepts of development and the issues relating to the prospects for their attainment through the respect of the rule of law, in the struggling region of Sub Saharan Africa and Cameroon. It is therefore timely and relevant in filling the lacuna with ideas that inform policy and law reform.

1.7. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

The theoretical framework adopted in this study involves the use of some developmental and human rights theories. These are principally the development theory of Sustainable development, the theory of Neo-Colonialism and the concept of Economic development. Theories of Human Rights include the Natural Law theory, the Triple Pronged theory and the Human Rights Based Approach. It does this analysis in the light of the concept of respect for the Rule of Law.

Foremost, the concept of Development could be best understood from the definition given by Todaro23. He looks at Development from various perspectives, holding that Development is not purely an economic phenomenon but rather a multi-dimensional process involving reorganization and reorientation of entire economic and social systems. He explains that Development involves a process of improving the quality of all human lives with three equally important aspects which are:

1. Raising peoples’ living standards, i.e. incomes and consumption, levels of food, medical services, education through relevant growth processes
2. Creating conditions conducive to the growth of peoples’ self-esteem through the establishment of social, political and economic systems and institutions which promote human dignity and respect
3. Increasing peoples’ freedom to choose by enlarging the range of their choice variables, e.g. varieties of goods and services

Sustainable Development therefore is generally defined as that “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”24 It is seen as a concept which aims at maintaining economic advancement and progress while protecting the long-term value of the environment.25 Per the UN General Assembly 1987, it “provides a framework for the integration of environment policies and development strategies”.

The concept of Sustainable development has however met with a lot of criticisms: “What, exactly, is to be sustained in sustainable development?”26 Some arguments suggest that a non-renewable resource cannot be sustainably used, since any rate of exploitation no matter how coordinated, will eventually lead to the exhaustion of the earth’s finite resource.27 Other arguments posit that the original meaning of sustainable development has “opportunistically been stretched from ‘conservation management’ to ‘economic development’28,” and that the Brundtland Report’s coinage of the term was merely a business political scheme. This write-up therefore seeks to examine how economic development relates to environmental protection, and the feasibility of attaining both forms of development for the Sub Saharan region and Cameroon.

Sustainable Development seeks to incorporate the concepts of Environmental protection and economic development, which this work explores in the wake of this new trend of development.

Environmental Protection thus refers to the policies and procedures aimed at conserving the natural resources, preserving the current state of the natural environment and, where possible, reversing its degradation.29 Economic development on the other hand refers to the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people.30 It is used in this light as opposed to economic growth which is a phenomenon of market productivity and an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a nation.31 The latter merely constitutes an aspect of the concept of economic development.

The new trend of growth and development today is one which focuses not just on economic growth but expands to more inclusive dynamics of economic development and environmental protection; one which will not only sustain a generation but last a life time (the so-called Sustainable form of development). With the dire need for political, economic and socio-cultural advancement in the Sub Saharan region, this work therefore examines the prospects of attaining economic development while also placing the needs of the environment in equal or quasi-equal position for the advancement of countries of this region, with Cameroon as a case study. It looks at the relationship between these forms or concepts of development, through a legal perspective into the progress so far at implementing them within the region in the respect for the rule of law; as well as prospects for the future and possible recommendations.

The theory of Neo-colonialism was posited by former Ghanaian president and one of Africa’s most influential leaders, Kwame Nkrumah.32 The theory is described as the last stage of imperialism, with its main aim being “economic domination at the satisfaction of a few”.33 Under this theory, Africa relies heavily on former colonial powers for political, social and economic security. These powers come in the guise of providing various forms of assistance to improve living conditions within African nations meanwhile they are in reality seeking their own neo-colonial economic ambitions.34 This form of disguised economic influence is described as the “cruellest form of neo-colonialism” under the pretext of helping the African continent attain its freedom.35 The influence of colonial powers on Africa in almost all aspects of development has till date never been extinguished. That is why we intend to ask if the push by developed countries on the less developed, for the preservation of a natural and almost unaltered habitat, constitutes one of such disguised schemes in the form of neo-colonialism or is in fact a credible attempt to place both parties at similar levels of development through what has been termed Sustainable development.

The Human Rights Theories: These are the Natural Law theory, the Triple Pronged theory and the Human Rights Based Approach.

Under the Natural Law theory, the position holds that human rights have a divine origin, emanating from a superior being who is the creator of all. Thus everyone should be allowed access to these rights without distinction or discrimination. This theory was posited by libertarians like Aristotle, Jean Jacques Rouseau, John Locke, etc. Aristotle thus emphasised that “Likes should be treated alike”. As such, applying this theory, everyone should have equal right to socio-economic wellbeing in every sense of the word, including a healthy environment. According to the theorists, Natural wrongs are therefore acts that touch on the dignity of human beings. As such, any unjustified attempt to deprive people of their right to economic development and its accruing benefits as well as a protected environment amounts to a violation of their rights. Therefore everyone should be able to freely enjoy these rights.

The Triple Pronged Theory is posited by persons like Henry Shue.36 It is a long established concept of Human Rights according to which it remains the state’s duty to guarantee the rights of individuals. In this light the State has the obligation to Respect, Protect and Fulfil human rights principles. According to Adam Beth37 the duty to respect human rights is essentially the duty not to infringe directly upon a person’s human rights. Therefore, States in the Sub Saharan region have the duty to ensure that they do not actively violate the rights of their citizens to economic development nor to a healthy environment whether directly or indirectly. They must protect individuals from having their rights violated and must set proper conditions to guarantee access to these rights. But then to do this, the State must be able to set the proper balance between the needs of its citizens regarding environmental protection on the one hand, and economic development on the other. This constitutes one of the main aspects in this work. The theory was confirmed by several other instruments such as The Maatricht Guidelines of 1997, the UN Charter, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHR), the 1996 Cameroonian Constitution, etc.

With the Human Rights Based approach, the right’s bearer should have his rights guaranteed and the duty holder should fulfil his duty of respecting this right. Human Rights Protection and promotion should also be based on International human rights standards; discriminatory practices are condemned as well as unfavourable practices that encumber developmental progress. This theory was developed by UN agencies based on principles or ideas of maintaining peace, justice, freedom and human rights as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). The theory is at the centre of development and condemns practices that could hinder developmental progress38. As such, there is the international recognition of the right to both a healthy environment as well as economic development. Therefore, any ill-calculated strategies and commitments of Sub Saharan governments, which do not properly consider the needs of their citizens is tantamount to a violation of their rights. It is therefore imperative that these governments properly consider the convoluted implications of their actions before engaging in developmental strategies and commitments. Understanding the link between and how to blend their environmental and economic needs to achieve the anticipated development is thus very fundamental.

The concept of the Rule of Law on its part can be seen from various perspectives, but is often used to describe a legal-political regime.39 Dating as far back as ancient philosophers like Aristotle, it is the legal principle that law should govern a nation and not the decisions of individual government officials.40 It pays particular reference to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly in restraining behaviour, especially that of government officials. In its three meanings, one context refers to Rule According to Law, by which no one should be sanctioned without well-establishedandclearlydefinedlawsandprocedures (nullumcrimennullapoena sine lege – literally meaning ‘No crime, no punishment without law’). In the second context it means Rule Under Law, forbidding arbitrary or unilateral actions not within the ambit of the law. That is, no one is above the law. Its third meaning refers to RuleAccording to a HigherLaw by which no law may be enforced unless it conforms to “certainunwritten,universalprinciples of fairness,morality,andjusticethattranscendhumanlegalsystems”.41 American legal scholar Lon L. Fuller42 identifies eight main characteristics/elements of the Rule of Law:

- Laws must exist and be obeyed by all, including government officials;
- Laws must be published;
- Laws must be prospective and not retrospective;
- Laws should be written/enacted with reasonable clarity to avoid unfair enforcement;
- There must be no contradictions;
- They must not command the impossible;
- They must stay constant through time to allow the formalization of rules; but however, must also allow room for abrogation or repeal when need arises, according to prevailing social and political circumstances;
- Official action should also be consistent with the declared rule.

Therefore Law is required to exist and act on these principles in order to sustain society. It serves as an important assurance of rights and accountability on the part of the government through the promotion of transparent governance,43 an independent judiciary system and inclusive democratisation. However, although seeming very explicit, the difficulty in applying these principles to the latter arises in real life situations, where governments tend to prioritize one or more goals over others in order to handle various societal issues in a manner which reflects political choices.44 As such, in the light of the analysis of this paper, there is the need to ensure that laws are prescribed and respected at every level of society, and that governments make a proper balance in satisfying ecological as well as economic needs of the people of the sub-Saharan region.

1.8. Significance of Study

This study is important for the following reasons:

- It stands to inform law and policy-making, thus enabling governments of the Sub Saharan region and Cameroon better understand how to adequately blend their development and environmental needs for a sustainable future;
- It will also demonstrate vividly the difficulties countries in the Sub Saharan region face in their attempt to meet up with environmental protection standards;
- It will help to model the general understanding of growth and development (for the lay man, scholars and policy makers)by demonstrating the constraints in attaining environmental protection in a region still struggling to attain its growth potential.

1.9. Justification

The justification of this study emerges from a political and socio-economic point of view. It stems from the need for the Sub Saharan region to be able to properly manage its environmental needs together with its needs for economic development. The international trend for development today gears towards efforts for a sustainable environment and this duty has been made more inclusive for developing countries. For economic development to be effectively realised, resources have to be exploited, by-products from human economic activities have to affect the environment to some extent, sacrifices have to be made, lifestyles have to be affected, and so much more. If the Sub Saharan region must meet up with its commitments for environmental protection the sacrifices made must accommodate the maximum benefit of the environment as well.

It is therefore important that governments properly understand the stakes involved for them at both ends and thus know how to create a balance so as to be able to make the gain. Neglect of the environment will only help to jeopardise the sustainability of the environment and its resources, as well as the lack of economic advancement will only worsen the living conditions of these countries and in-turn continue to contribute to the deterioration of the environment and deepen the poverty cycle.

1.10. Scope of Study

The geographical delimitation of this study is the Sub Saharan region of Africa, due to its huge natural resource endowment and its growing strides at economic advancement encumbered by international calls to preserve its overflowing resources. Cameroon is used as the case studysince it is the author’s area of origin and therefore there is easier access to data and resource to conduct the research, than would have been the case using another country. More so, Cameroon’s natural resource variety and abundance makes it a typical representation of Africa as it is often called ‘Africa in miniature’. Coupled with its current poor economic standard, it makes it a most suitable country for the case study analysis.

The theoretical or contextual delimitation involves an analysis of how the environmental and economic needs of Sub Saharan Africa can be managed simultaneously through a coordinated and representative structure of rules and governance. It however does not lay emphasis on the specific needs of each country in the region. Rather it uses the peculiarities of Cameroon as an analogy.

In time, the application of this work generally covers the period from the early 1990s to present, and possibly stretching into a generation from today.This is because thisepoch marks a typical stage when economies in Africa have begun to boom, and also when more environmental commitments are being made. It also covers more than half of a generation, allowing room for maximum evaluation. A generation from today is also an estimated period over which the economies of the SSA region are expected to experience constant change and growth, and also when the pressures for environmental conservation will remain on the rise.

1.11. Definition of Terms

Environment: The most suitable definition of environment is...the sum total of water, air and land and the interrelationships that exist among them with human beings, other living organisms and materials.45 The geographical meaning of environment is: It is a combination of living and non-living things and their mutual interaction with each other which leads to an ecosystem.46

Green economy: United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) defines it as an economy that results in improved human wellbeing and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcity.

Green Growth: Similar to Green economy, it highlights the idea that green policies are not detrimental to economic growth and development.47 The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2011) defines it to mean “fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies”.

Poverty: Condition where people's basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met.48

1.12. Synopsis

Chapter One presents an outline of the content of this work as well as an introduction and overview of what this work is about. It includes anintroduction, background to the study, statement of the problem, research questions, objectives, research methodology, a review of literature, theoretical and conceptual framework, significance and justification of the study, scope of work, definition of key terms and a synopsis.

Chapter Two examines the relationship between environmental protection and economic development as separate but related concepts of development. First it makes an in-depth study into the concept of environmental protection and then an analysis of the concept of economic development. It then looks at how both interconnect, through the concept of sustainable development.The history and evolution of environmental protection is also traced through International Environmental Law and therefore the contention that exists over the idea of environmental conservation and economic development.

Chapter Three examines the progress so far at attaining environmental protection amidst the already existing as well as growing efforts at economic development. It first does a general analysis of the Sub Saharan African region and then lays particular emphasis on Cameroon as the case study; making use of the policy, legal and institutional frameworks.

Chapter four is a critical analysis of Cameroon’s prospects of attaining both forms of development taking into consideration the country’s resources, the political and socio-economic state of affairs, the environmental and economic needs, the progress made so far at realising these needs, the country’s international and domestic engagements, economic and environmental plans for the future as well as other related aspects of growth. It examines practical areas where the struggle for environmental protection hinders or plays a negative effect on economic development. It does this through the perspective of the guarantee of the rule of law in the five major sectors forthe country’s economic development (Agriculture, Forestry, Energy & waste management, Construction and Transport) as well as the role of relevant stake holders. It further looks at the impact on business and trade and the possibility of attaining ecological objectives through a green economy.

This work therefore concludes by discussing the arguments for and against the concept of sustainable development, which should be considered in the determination of the region’s environment and development targets. In this light, it considers whether the emphasis on environmental protection on the African continent amounts to an imperialist or neo-colonialist move. The chapter summarises the important issues raised in the work and makes recommendations for the way forward for the Sub Saharan Region and Cameroon in particular.


1 ‘Political definition of “Major regions” According to the UN’.Archived from the original on 20 April 2010.Retrieved 15 December 2010.

2 ‘Global Economic Prospects – 2018 – Sub Saharan Africa’ 2018

3 ‘Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa’, IMF, 31st March, 2017

4 ‘Cameroon Economy 2018’, available at, 2018 CIA World Factbook And Other Sources, accessed on 28th February 2018

5 Available at, accessed on 4th July 2018, (at 11:07am)

6 Available at Wikipedia. Economy of Cameroon; accessed on 23 January 2018 (9:51am)

7 Annette Mogoum,‘Exploring Cameroon’s Natural Resource Potential in Achieving the Dream of an Emergent Economy’, Foretia Foundation, 18th October 2018. See also, Cameroon Vision 2035, Working Paper, February 2009

8 ‘Global Economic Prospects – 2018 – Sub Saharan Africa’ (Opcit)

9 David Leary and BalakrishnaPisupati (Eds), The future of international environmental law, United Nations University Press, 2010, p. 4

10 ‘Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment’, Stockholm, 5–16 June 1972, contained in Report of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, UN Doc. A/CONF.48/14.

11 Available at Our Common Future, accessed on26th March 2018

12 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future

13 Ibid

14 1987 Brundtland Report.

15 KalembaMwambazambi, ‘The Complexity of Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and Reduction of Poverty’, Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, Vol. 4 No.1 2011

16 Walter V et al. ‘Ecosystem & Human Well-Being: Synthesis’ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Program II) Series, BioScience , Washington DC: Island Press, Vol 56, Issue 11, 2005, in KalembaMwambazambi, “The Complexity of Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and Reduction of Poverty”(Opcit)

17 Ngonda, J “La pauvreté et la protection environnemental”, Kinshasa: MED. 2008 in KalembaMwambazambi, “The Complexity of Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and Reduction of Poverty” (Opcit)

18 Pongo M. “Le problemeenvironnemental en Afrique” Kinshasa: InstitutFacultaire, 2009, in KalembaMwambazambi, ‘The Complexity of Environmental Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and Reduction of Poverty’(Opcit)

19 Giz, ‘Green Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lessons from Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria’, Printed by Top Kopie GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany, January 2013

20 DieudonneAlemagi “Sustainable development in Cameroon’s forestry sector: Progress, challenges, and strategies for improvement” Faculty of Forestry, The University of British Columbia, 4612 - 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 5(2), pp. 65-72, February 2011

21 Wily Alden, “Whose Land Is It? The Status of Customary Land Tenure in Cameroon”, Yaoundé: CED/FERN/Rainforest Foundation, 2011.

22 NdivaKofele-Kale “Asserting Permanent Sovereignty over Ancestral Lands: The Bakweri Land Litigation against Cameroon” Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law, Volume 13, Issue 1 Article 6, 2007, available at

23 ‘Concept_of_Development’, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation,>GEO260>Powerpoint

24 United Nations General Assembly, ‘The Brundtland Report – Our Common Future’, 1987, p. 43.

25 Rachel Emas, ‘The Concept of Sustainable Development: Definition and Defining Principles’, , Florida International University, Brief for GSDR, 2015

26 Available at>wiki>sustainable development, accessed on 13th March 2018

27 Ibid

28 Timothy O’Riordan, “The Politics of Sustainability and Development”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, ESRC STEPS Centre, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 2016; Turner R. Kerry, “Sustainable Environmental Economics and Management: Principles and Practice.” London: Belhaven Press, 1993

29 Available at, accessed on 19/03/2018

30 Available at, accessed on March 2018

31 Ibid

32 Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism; Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., London (1965) and International Publishers Co., Inc., USA (1966), Transcribed by Dominic Tweedie.

33 UdodilimNnamdi, “Un-Unified & Underdeveloped: Navigating Nkrumah’s Theory Of Neo-Colonialism In The 21st Century”, BSc, Political Science, Howard University, US, E-International Relations Publishing website, Jan 13 2016

34 Ibid

35 Ibid

36 Henry Shue, Basic Rights, Subsistence, Affluence and US foreign policy, Princeton.Priceton University Press, 1980

37 Adam Mcbeth, “Breaching the vacuum: A consolidation of the role international human rights law in the operation of international financial institutions” The International Journal For Human Rights, No 8 vol 10 2006, p 389.S

38 Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, 1948.

39 Helen Yu & Alison Guernsey “What is the Rule of Law?”, World Bank Paper series The Rule of Law as a Goal of Development Policy, 2012, at

40 Available at, accessed on 08 June 2018, 4:39 pm

41 West's Encyclopaedia of American Law, Rule of Law, 2nded, Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.

42 Lon L. Fuller The Morality of Law, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. 1964. Pp. viii, 202. $5.00. See also Yu Helen & Guernsey Alison “What is the Rule of Law ?”, World Bank Paper series The Rule of Law as a Goal of Development Policy,

43 Helen Yu & Alison Guernsey “What is the Rule of Law?” (Opcit )

44 Ibid

45 ‘Introduction to Law’, Module VIIA, Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, Environmental Law, (Notes), available at

46 Ibid

47 PAGE (Partnership for Action on Green Economy) ‘Green Economy Introductory Learning Material. Section 1. Advancing an Inclusive Green Economy: Rationale and Context’, 2015

48 Available at, accessed on 24 March 2018

Excerpt out of 155 pages


Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Cameroon
University of Buea
LLM International Law
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Academic Awards: - University of Pretoria Scholarships for Masters in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa - The Cameroon Women's Scholarship of the British High Commission - Best Country Speaker (Cameroon): 10th Pan African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC) 2017. - Best LLB Student: 2014 University of Buea
reconciling, environmental, protection, economic, development, sub-saharan, africa, case, cameroon
Quote paper
Ruddy Fualefeh Morfaw Azanu (Author), 2018, Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Cameroon, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Cameroon

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free