(Business in Cameroon) - The creation of a listing reserved for SMEs on Douala stock exchange could be one of the reforms Cameroon will implement in order to facilitate their access to funding.
The idea was emitted at the general treasury’s sectoral work during the annual conference of central, external and decentralized services of the ministry of finance which was concluded on February 2nd 2018, in Yaoundé.
This measure could boost the demand for SMEs’ structuring and grant them access to alternative financing means apart from bank loans which are rather difficult to access. However, it is likely to collide with the lack of stock-market culture observed in Cameroonian SMEs. Indeed, since it was created in 2006, Douala stock-exchange has been ignored by these SMEs which remained indifferent despite the incentives such as the 30% tax reduction for listed companies. As a result, after 12 years in activity, only 3 companies are listed on DSX for a market capitalization estimated at a little more than CFA500 billion by the end of 2015.
It will be hard for SMEs to reverse this trend as they are deemed fragile and less structured than larger companies. For the record, officially, they represent 90% of Cameroon’s economic tissue. As such, they are presented as the country’s main lever for economic growth. It is however difficult for them to access funds which could help them develop their activities effectively.
According to many experts and economic operators, the creation of a guarantee fund specially dedicated to SMEs could resolve this crucial problem.
Brice R. Mbodiam