Cameroon and Nigeria share a border of almost 1700 km. The two countries trade intensively, despite the constant threat of the terrorist group Boko-Haram along the border. However, this trade between Cameroon and Nigeria remains stuck in the informal sector and is grossly underreported. For example, the world bank finds that Cameroon – Nigeria Bilateral trade flows are estimated at USD 230 million by the world bank, higher than the officially recorded non-oil trade flows of between USD 10 and 40 million. The two countries ratified the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has the potential to boost trade between them, accelerate Gross Domestic Product (GDP), increase employment opportunities, and raise per capita incomes. With this in mind, the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation organized an essay competition, for Cameroonian Youths, to contribute to the strengthening of trade relations between Cameroon and Nigeria in the context of the AfCFTA.
Meet the winners of the 2021 Free Trade Essay Competition:
1- Bambe Betrand Aristide Sheizi
/ The Role of the Private Sector for Improving Free Trade.
Making regional integration work for Africa as a whole requires improving infrastructure, enhancing access to credit, facilitating cross-border trade, developing workforce skills, strengthening mechanisms for consultation with the private sector and maintaining peace and security. In order to fully benefit from the AfCFTA, African states should create more space for the private sector to play an active role in the regional integration and development process instead of leaving the sector to act as a passive participant.
2- Chanjoh Rexson Ngong
/ Free trade: The Tool of benefit between Cameroon and Nigeria.
Free Trade will bring a lot of benefits within Cameroon and Nigeria ranging from the reduction in commodity prices, releasing up resources for employment, enhancing competition and innovation, giving access to industries in both countries. This will equally lower government expenditures in domestic industries.
3- Djamen Tchetgnia Boris Landry
/ Promotion du libre-échange le rôle des institutions politiques.
L’intégration régionale est une nécessité pour le développement durable au Cameroun et au Nigeria. Afin de réussir une interaction commerciale régionale, il convient de mettre en place une réelle cohésion qui permettra à la fois d’accroitre les tissus industriels peu développés et de favoriser une interaction au commerce mondial par une impulsion institutionnelle décisive.
4- Kapche Raissa Estelle
/ ZLECA : un stimulant de la compétitivité infrastructurelle frontalière du Cameroun face au Nigéria.
Les infrastructures adaptées réduisent les délais d’acheminement des marchandises le long des corridors. En effet, il existe un lien positif entre les infrastructures d’un pays et sa compétitivité internationale. Dès lors, pour profiter pleinement de la ZLECAf et accroitre le volume de ses échanges avec le Nigeria, le Cameroun se doit de développer ses frontières en construisant et en aménageant les infrastructures telles que : les routes, les marchés frontaliers, les parcs à camion, les bureaux de change, les magasins de stockage, les hôtels et restaurants.
5- Fomutar Stanislaus
/ Addressing State Centered Policies and Security Challenges Along the Cameroon-Nigeria Borders for Smooth Trade Between the Two Countries.
It is important for the two countries (Nigeria and Cameroon) to set up a strong security system based on transparency and accountability as key to resolving the criminal activities which constitute major economic setbacks along the borders.
6- Mbabit Boris
/ Free trade and the impact on the Agro-economic sector between Cameroon and Nigeria.
Cameron – Nigeria trade is underpinned by trade in the agriculture sector, which equally employs a significant number of the workforce in the informal sector. The AfCFTA will facilitate the elimination of trade barriers, which will boost two-way trade and contribute towards the attainment of the UN sustainable development goals including, no poverty, zero hunger, good health, and well-being.
7- Munoh Amei Bizine
/ The Reasons – Benefits of Free Trade.
Free Trade is a prerequisite for economic growth and the African Continental Free Trade Area will encourage the practice of free trade between Cameroon and Nigeria. As a result of lowering tariff and non-tariff barrier, economic growth will accelerate as more traders will be encouraged to engage in cross-border trade. Free trade will raise government revenues over the long run and lower government spending, whilst promoting the transfers of technology. As local companies grow after gaining such knowledge, so do jobs, which go a long way to increase living standards.
/ The Dilemma of International Free Trade and the Potential Benefits of Inter African Free Trade Agreement
Free trade in most cases puts opportunities into the hands of people who are more likely to create successful outcomes. It lowers trade restrictions and economies that built on the principles of free trade tend to perform better. Due to their proximity, Cameroon and Nigeria should carve out a free trade agreement that will account for the CEMAC and ECOWAS membership.
9- Tanko Emmanuel
/ Reasons-Benefits of Free Trade
Free trade has several benefits and this looks at the positive spill overs from free trade on both Cameroon and Nigeria. Cameroon – Nigeria free trade will increase in demand for goods, lowering prices and boosting consumption in the process. This will equally result in higher exports and production thereby encouraging economic growth and development. Free trade will increase investment and foster specialisation as Cameroon and Nigeria scale their activities, due to lower tariff and non-tariff barriers.
10- Tumenta Clinton Yessi
/ Advantages and Disadvantages of Trade Blocs
Trade blocs are a positive element to foster trade in Africa and gain the continent a better place in the global arena. They enhance bargaining power, bring about foreign investment, promote competition and ensure security. However, as far as the advantages outnumber and have positive impact more than the disadvantages have negative impact on Africa, trade blocs remain key to long term and sustainable economic growth and development in Africa.
Congratulations to all the winners !!!
All winners will receive their rewards during the 2022 Cameroon Free Trade Forum on February 25th, 2022.