(Business in Cameroon) - The prices of imported food products increased by 10.1% between March 2021 and March 2022 in Douala, the National Stats Agency (INS) reported. In Yaoundé, the rate is 9.2%.
Logically, prices in Douala should increase less than in Yaoundé, since the economic capital is home to the country's largest port, which is the gateway to more than 90% of the goods imported by the state. Yaoundé, on the other hand, is located about 240 km from the port of Douala, and consequently, the final prices of imported products are usually inflated by the cost of transportation.
To explain this mismatch, an INS official blamed it on the "speculative activities of crooked traders," whose tracking seems to be more vigorous in Yaoundé (the administrative capital) by the Ministry of Commerce's national fraud control and repression brigade. The crackdown on these dishonest traders is less dynamic in other cities, the INS official regretted.
However, the source stressed that higher inflation in one city compared to another does not necessarily mean that products are more expensive in the first city than in the second. As proof, “a year ago, a kg of imported rice cost CFA400 in Yaoundé and CFA375 in Douala. If we apply the reported growth rate of 9.2% in Yaoundé, and 10.1% in Douala, the new prices for a kg of imported rice will be CFA437 for Yaoundé, compared to CFA413 for Douala. The kg is, therefore, more expensive in Yaoundé than in Douala," where prices are nevertheless accelerating more rapidly.