Thursday August 19, 2021 at the MUNA FOUNDATION, a round table was held on the theme “Defending the advantages of Cameroon-Nigeria trade: a quest for favorable trade conditions” organized by the NKAFU POLICY Institute.
This round table mainly involves traders, trade experts, political decision-makers and civil society. With a well-stocked panel, made up of Dr Barnabé Okouda Executive Director of CAMERCAP-PARC; Ms. Hermine Mbarga Azambou Executive President; and Dr Steve Tametong from the NKAFU POLICY Institute.
The reflections focused on examining the advantages of Cameroon-Nigeria trade for the various fields of activity, assessing the implications of Cameroon-Nigeria trade on Cameroon’s economic growth and industrialization, examining the scope of this agreement on health, education, climate, employment and consumption.
From this exchange, we remember that Cameroon is subject to the trade agreement mainly because of the lack of information concerning the opportunities that this agreement offers to Cameroonians. Also, Cameroon being less industrialized than Nigeria does not offer original manufactured products. We also note the “non-aggressiveness” of Cameroonian economic operators on the Nigerian market.
The consumption culture of the populations and even the density of the population (200 million inhabitants for Nigeria and a little over 27 million for Cameroon) which is a considerable factor. Without forgetting the difficulty represented by the currency (Cameroon with CFA Francs and Nigeria with the Naira). And what about the will of the political powers? SMEs need financial, technical, administrative and even strategic support from the government. Although personal and private initiatives are necessary, they must be supported upstream by the State.
In short, Cameroon therefore has enormous potential that remains to be shaped. And if we want our economy to be doing well, if we want to compete on a continental and even international level, we must integrate the fact that a country does not prosper by basing its economy on the export of raw materials. Let’s transform our raw materials, give them added value and above all, comply with international standards for the manufacture and packaging of products.
The other agreements initialed by Cameroon such as the ACP can also be a brake on the Cameroonian economy in that they open the door to foreign economic operators. The risk is that the made in Cameroon takes hits and fails to compete with the made in France, UK, China, USA etc.
It is therefore a call for more hard work, more initiatives and more will on the part of all actors if we want to see our economy rank among the most powerful.