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In Cameroon, the informal sector weighs as much in GDP as in South Africa and Mauritius, but less than in Nigeria

In Cameroon, the informal sector weighs as much in GDP as in South Africa and Mauritius, but less than in Nigeria
  • Comments   -   Thursday, 13 July 2017 17:09

(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroonian informal sector, which officially occupies 90% of the active population in the country, is as productive as that of countries with a much higher economic level in Africa. Indeed, according to an IMF report, the informal sector in Cameroon contributes 20 to 30% in the creation of the country's GDP, alongside South Africa and Mauritius.

Unlike Cameroon, the two above-mentioned countries have the distinction of being the biggest economy in Africa, in the case of South Africa; and dominating practically all the African rankings regarding good governance, business environment, ease of investment, development of the digital economy, etc.

Within sub-Saharan Africa, Cameroon is well served in terms of the prevalence of the informal sector in the economy, since, the IMF highlights, in this part of the continent, the pervasiveness of the informal sector in the GDP ranges between 20 and 65%, with peaks observed in Tanzania and in Nigeria, the second economy on the continent.

Among the factors preventing the development of the informal sector in Africa, the IMF lists unduly high tax and social charges, the small size of the market and the feeble volume of economic activity, an inefficient judiciary, excessive bureaucracy, the difficulties accessing financing to develop economic activities, weaknesses in governance, etc.

As a reminder, according to a study published in November 2011 by the National Institute of Statistics (Institut National de la Statistique - INS), more than 2.5 million production units of informal sector can be counted on Cameroonian territory, of which close to half (49.5%) in rural areas and 33.3% in the cities of Yaoundé and Douala, the country's two capitals. At the same time, the same study highlights, the structure of these production units by sector of activity reveals that 34.1% among them operate in industry, 33.6% in commerce and 32.2% in services.

Brice R. Mbodiam

Ranking of sub-Saharan African countries by percentage of the informal sector in their economy

Between 20% and 30%

1-Mauritius

2-South Africa

3-Namibia

4-Cameroon

5-Botswana

6-Togo

7-Burundi

8-Comores

Between 30% and 40%

9-Rwanda

10-Kenya

11-Niger

12-Burkina Faso

13-Malawi

14-Côte d'Ivoire

15-Zambia

16-Mozambique

17-Democratic Republic of Congo

18-Liberia

19-Guinea

20-Lesotho

21-Guinea Bissau

22-Madagascar

23-Ghana

24-Congo

25-Uganda

Between 40% and 50%

26-Mali

27-Senegal

28-Equatorial Guinea

29-Chad

30-Sierra Leone

31-Central African Republic

32-Zimbabwe

33-Gabon

34-Angola

35-Benin

Over 50%

36-Tanzania

37-Nigeria

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