(Business in Cameroon) - Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, will host from January 31 to February 1, 2022, a regional forum aimed at improving support for Central African small businesses involved in cassava production and export, in the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
Organized jointly by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the State of Cameroon, the forum will be an opportunity for stakeholders in the cassava sector (farmers, processors and SMEs, and entrepreneurs) to discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by the ACFTA in terms of processing, added value, and innovation. It will also promote good social and environmental practices as well as the creation of decent jobs, for women and young people particularly.
Currently, although Cameroon is located in what the African Union calls "the cassava belt" (ed. note: countries where cassava has a high potential), this commodity is still cultivated following the old traditional ways. As is the case in DR Congo, most farmers process the crop by doing all the grueling manual work of peeling, grating, kneading, and pounding the tubers, the ECCAS explains. And most of those tasks are carried out by women.
In Cameroon, the labor force is still a major constraint for the improvement of competitiveness in the cassava sector. ECCAS, therefore, estimates that considerable progress is required not only in agricultural productivity but also in the whole production chain.
This is why the Yaoundé Forum is being organized to present opportunities offered by the ACFTA, a priority initiative in the 2063 Agenda of the African Union (AU).
The African Continental Free Trade Area currently has 44 member countries, including Cameroon. It is aimed at accelerating intra-African trade and strengthening the continent’s commercial position on the international market.