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The service sector regained its position as a growth driver in Cameroon in 2021, after the Covid-19 episode (INS)

The service sector regained its position as a growth driver in Cameroon in 2021, after the Covid-19 episode (INS)
  • Comments   -   Thursday, 22 September 2022 10:26

(Business in Cameroon) - Economic activity in Cameroon grew by 3.6% in 2021, after a 0.3% decline in 2020 when Covid-19 was hitting hard. This recovery was, according to the stats agency INS, observed in all sectors but much more in those that were particularly affected by the pandemic, including services, such as transport, accommodation and catering, and industrial activities.

 In its 2021 report on national accounts, INS pointed out that "with a remarkable growth of 4.3% in 2021, compared to 0.1% in 2020, and a contribution to GDP growth of 2.2 points in 2021, after only 0.1 point in 2020, the tertiary sector has reached its pre-Covid-19 crisis performance, and has regained its position as the engine of growth for the national economy.”

“The dynamics in this sector is the result of the good performance of activities in all segments, especially transport and storage services, accommodation and catering, which contribute more to growth with 0.6 point and 0.4 point respectively. These two segments benefited from the revival of activity in the primary and secondary sectors and grew by 5.6% (compared with 0% in 2020) and 7.3% (compared with -8.4% in 2020) respectively.

Teleworking

Various official reports found that due to restrictions imposed during the pandemic, the transport, catering, hotel and accommodation, and trade sectors, which are all part of the tertiary sector, were those that suffered the most. "We lost 100% of our revenue. One way or another, all the hotels were closed. The balance sheet was negative. The hotels were empty. There were no customers," said Chantal Lewat, president of the union of Employers of Hotel and Tourism Industries. As a reminder, air (62% decrease in 2020), rail (61% decrease in passengers between 2016 and 2020), and maritime traffic also decreased.

"The overall volume of trade fell by 16% in the first half of 2020. Exports and imports have fallen by 14% and 16% respectively," revealed the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, during the June 2020 cabinet meeting. In addition to the slowdown in production activity in the country, the decline in import-export activities was due to disruptions in the international supply chain, caused by the global lockdown measures.

While most sectors were affected negatively, telecoms and financial services witnessed a boost in activity driven by the explosion of teleworking and electronic banking during the pandemic. This trend continued in 2021, despite the mitigation of the health crisis. "The activities of banks and financial organizations improved by nearly 8 points to 10.3% in 2021, and information and telecommunications activities maintained their good growth rate with 6.1% in 2021, after 5.3% in 2020," the INS report points out.

Written by: Brice R. Mbodiam

Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN

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