"(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon plays a key role in the CEMAC region,” the African Development Bank (AfDB) states at the beginning of its analysis of Cameroon's economic indicators in the recently published 2020 African Economic Outlook.
To support its view of Cameroon’s decisive contribution in the economy of the CEMAC zone, the AfDB reveals that in addition to holding “nearly 40% of the money supply” of this community space, the country is the main driver of intra-community trade in the zone.
“Over the 2014-2017 period, its share of total intra-community trade reached 24.7%, thanks to the relative diversification of its economy and the existence of road corridors with all CEMAC countries and Nigeria,” the AfDB explains.
These commercial exchanges between Cameroon and its CEMAC peers could have been even larger if not for the cross-border trade obstacles faced by the countries of this community space. These obstacles include inadequate infrastructure, despite the many ongoing projects, but above all the harassments perpetrated by officers along the various corridors.
For example, in a study entitled “briser les obstacles au commerce agricole régional en Afrique centrale” (Breaking the Barriers to Regional Agricultural Trade in Central Africa), officially presented on August 30, 2018, in Yaoundé, the World Bank revealed that the harassments perpetrated by police, gendarmerie, customs, road safety, etc., account for up to 14% of the final price of agricultural products transported via the corridor between Cameroon and Gabon.
The cost of those harassments in the final price of agricultural goods transported via this corridor is equivalent to almost five times the producer's profit margin (3%), and is almost at the same level as production costs (18%) and transport costs (16%), the same source pointed out.
Brice R. Mbodiam