(Business in Cameroon) - XAF2 billion has been disbursed to support SMEs and artisans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This was revealed by Achille Bassilekin III (Minister of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts) during a press briefing on October 5, in Yaoundé.
This envelope is the portion dedicated to the Ministry of SMEs (the allocation was made by the Prime Minister on July 22, 2020) out of the XAF180 billion of the Covid-19 solidarity fund. Created by the Head of State on March 31, 2020 (just days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Cameroon), the fund was initially endowed with XAF1 billion and substantially replenished by the budget amendment of June 3, 2020.
According to the Ministry of SMEs, this support will be provided to SMEs and artisans in compliance with fair and strict eligibility requirements contained in a published practical guide. The XAF2 billion is nevertheless not the only financial support destined for SMEs out of the XAF180 billion, the Ministry’s officials indicate. They explain that many local SMEs will receive support from numerous ministries that were also allocated part of the Covid-19 support fund to boost economic and financial resilience.
For instance, the Ministry of Economy was allocated XAF10 billion to support firms while the Ministry of Mines, Industries, and Technological Development received XAF1 billion to boost the production capacities of local pharmaceutical industries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development received XAF6 billion to support small farm business and rice, maize, wheat, organic fertilizers, and seed producers.
Also, the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industries received XAF2 billion to boost the production in sectors it oversees while the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family received XAF1.5 billion for the production of face masks in 360 communes. Also, the Ministry of Tourism was allocated XAF190 million to support very small businesses and SMEs in the catering business.
BGFI credit line
Apart from those direct financial support, there is a XAF10 billion credit line opened last September 1 to support Cameroonian SMEs affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
This means that overall, XAF32.7 billion of financial support is available for SMEs affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Cameroon.