We discussed diverse topics including the investment climate in Cameroon, startups, the relationship between political change/policies and economic development of a nation; then we summed up with his advice to young people. “Act, the responsibility to change your very own destiny is in your hands, do not wait for a third party to do it for you.” Christian Penda Ekoka (65 years) is a Cameroonian by birth from the Littoral Region of Cameroon. He has a rich professional and educational background that has permitted him to excel in different domains.
He began his career in 1978 as a railway engineer at the “Régie Nationale des Chemins de fer, he was in charge of investment at the National Investment Fund (SNI) in 1979, former Director at the department of project development at SNI (1982-1992) and was specifically responsible for coordination and developmental project follow up in the different sectors of the economy (agro-industrial, mines, energy, chemical products, metal transformation, building materials, provisions and drinks, fishing, animal husbandry and related firms, hotel development, banking operations and others).
He left SNI in 1992 and founded Business Development Services (BDS): an international firm in multidisciplinary consulting in partnership with over 25 African and Caribbean countries in collaboration with the World Bank, the United Nations organization for Industrial Development (UNOID), African Development Bank, European Union, the American Agency for Development of Trade (AADT), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other International Financial Institution. The main idea for the creation of this firm was to provide solutions to problems of competitiveness of SMEs, the development of poles to enhance competition, consolidate dialogue between public and private sectors, economic diversification, Regional Integration, Business Climate, financing of SMEs and public private partnership (PPP).
His brilliant contributions earned him professional collaboration with law firms (Clifford Chance, Lovells, White and Case, Linklaters) and international financial institutions involved in financing international projects like the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Financial Institution, African Development Bank, CDC, First Class commercial banks and institutions specialized in policy risk coverage (Eximbank, Sace, Ducroire, Hermes and Coface, EDC).
He advised the Cameroon government on multiple projects including the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project, on how to manage the privatization of the container terminal of the Douala seaport and the National Electricity Cooperation. As a consultant at the International Financial Institution, he accompanied the Cameroon government on the conception and put in place of the Cameroon Business forum (CBF) considered an engine to promote dialogue between public and private sectors. He has been the regional consultant for the private sector, participated at the 2004 Shanghai Conference organized by the World Bank and the Chinese government on the reinforcement of strategies to fight against poverty and the preparation of the report of the African commission created by former British PM Tony Blair, he took part at the G8 Business Action for Africa held in London (2005) during the Gleneagle EU Summit.
BDS with the years of existence and experience has prepared and animated workshops and seminars on diverse themes: “elaboration and evaluation of projects” using ICT modelling tools like Confar of UNOID, ” opportunities and threats to the elaboration and financial organization of projects”, ” assistance to development of enterprises with emphasis on young entrepreneurs”, “microcredit for small entrepreneurs”, ” building a new prosperous life from your retirement” ,” promoting the competitiveness of SMEs via building of competitive development poles. Besides the above mentioned expertise, he holds a diploma in industrial engineering from the University of Montreal and an MBA from the University of McGill and Concordia (Montreal).
Recently, he created a movement called ACT with the motto “Your life, your call” (AGIR “Prenons notre destin en main”) with the objective of sharing his experience with the youth to become aspiring entrepreneurs for the future.
He therefore has 40 years of professional experience and expertise in different domains which permitted him to serve as the adviser to the president of the republic of Cameroon since 2010.