(Business in Cameroon) - At the entrance of Mboro, the district hosting Kribi deepwater port in Southwest Cameroon, there is an ongoing earthmoving works over a 20-hectare site. On this site, not too far from Kribi-Lolable expressway, Société industrielle de construction d’appareils électroménagers et de climatiseurs (Sicamec) will launch the construction of fridge and air conditioners’ manufacturing and assembly plant in early 2020. This investment is estimated at XAF45 billion.
On August 21, 2019, the Cameroonian company’s CEO Alkis Bruno Domyou Noubi (photo) signed an agreement with Kribi port’s managing director to establish the future plant in the deepwater port’s industrial zone. According to Patrice Melom, this is the first time Kribi port is signing such agreement with a Cameroonian company. In addition, Sicamec’s project will have the most impact in terms of job creation. With the plant whose monthly production capacity is 15,000 units (5,000 air-conditioners, 5,000 coolers and 5,000 freezers), Sicamec wants to create 1,000 direct jobs.
The flea market: a threat to made in Cameroon household appliances
Once the plant (ISO 9001v2015 certified) is built, the company’s employees must work tirelessly 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for “household appliances made in Cameroon to conquer the African market.” “We can’t do it without institutional support," CEO Alkis Bruno Domyou Noubi explains.
Indeed, according to a market analysis conducted by JMJ Africa in the framework of that project, Cameroon’s consumption of freezers and air-conditioners was estimated at 150,000 units. According to forecasts, it will reach 250,000 units in 2024. However, the analysis reveals, 62% of the market is controlled by imported second-hand products commonly called bric-a-brac.
According to Sicamec, the products manufactured in the plant it plans to build could not be competitive if measures are not taken to reduce the import of used materials before the launch of the plant in 2022.
“We are not afraid of competing with new products imported. The main threat to the viability of this project is the importation of used products,” most of which are imported illegally without paying taxes and customs duties, a Sicamec executive said.
Brice R. Mbodiam