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Yaoundé - 28 March 2020 -
Economy

Cameroon: Exports and tourism revenues could fall by 3.1% because of the coronavirus pandemic (UNECA)

Cameroon: Exports and tourism revenues could fall by 3.1% because of the coronavirus pandemic (UNECA)
  • Comments   -   Monday, 16 March 2020 13:19

(Business in Cameroon) - With a 3.1% drop in overall revenues from the exports of oil and non-oil products and tourism, Cameroon will be the 4th country least impacted economically out of the 11 Central African countries.

This was revealed by the UNECA, on March 13, 2020, in Addis Ababa, in a summary report on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on African countries.

Let’s note that this report was published before the confirmation of three more cases of coronavirus in Cameroon (5 in total to date) between 14 and 16 March 2020.

According to the said report, the first three Central African countries that will be least economically impacted by the pandemic are CAR (-0.9%), Burundi (-0.4%) and DR Congo (-1.9%).

The greatest impact of the Coronavirus in Central Africa will be felt by Sao Tome and Principe (-34%), the Republic of Congo (-10.6%), Equatorial Guinea (-7.5%), Angola (-5.7%), Chad (-4.8%), Gabon (-5%) and Rwanda (-6.3%).

In the region, the most affected activities will mainly be tourism and oil exploitation, the UNECA points out while anticipating a substantial drop in tax revenues in the affected countries. 

In the specific case of Cameroon, tourism will pay the heaviest price in the coronavirus crisis, followed by non-oil commodity exports.

Closing borders?

In recent days, several Western countries have decided to reduce cross-border movements. The rise of the epidemic in France this week could also lead it to confine its population.

According to the website of French TV channel LCI, Air France, the leader in air transport in Cameroon with more than 20% of activity, announced "the cessation of 80 to 90%" of its flights by the end of this week.

The other airlines serving Cameroon could also suspend their activities in the country, as the idea of a probable closure of borders is beginning to swell in public opinion. As a reminder, the 5 coronavirus cases currently confirmed in Cameroon were all imported by air.

Despite the calls for border closures that are being made on social networks, the Cameroonian government is cautious for the time being, given the excessive extraversion of consumer behavior in Cameroon.

Despite the assurances, given by importers to the Minister of Trade last week, on the availability of rice and fish stock (Cameroon's most imported food products), the country is not immune to food shortages if its borders with Asian and European countries, its main trading partners, are closed.

Brice R. Mbodiam

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