Cameroon: a country with high potential

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Fact sheet on the reasons to invest in Cameroon

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GEOGRAPHIC SITUATION

With a land surface of 475650 km2, of which 466050 km2 of continental surface and 9600 km2 of maritime, Cameroon is located in the heart of Africa and makes the junction between Equatorial Africa in the south and Tropical Africa in the north. It shares borders with 6 States: Nigeria in the east, Chad in the north east, Republic of Central Africa in the east, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in the south. It is meanwhile much extended in latitude: riparian of the Congo basin in the south, while the north and the north are connected to the high densities of the Gulf of Guinea’s countries. It reaches in the north the sahelian shores of Lake Chad.

Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, dominated by one of the most high mountainous massive of Africa. The bundle constitutes a greater variety of bio-geographic fields, from which it gets its name “Africa in miniature”. This comparison is followed in the demographic field with a population estimated to 22 millions of inhabitants and apportioned between more than 200(280 are counted) ethnics speaking 24 main languages.

ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLITICAL FIELDS

Cameroon is a presidential republic. The power is concentrated around the President and controlled by H.E Paul BIYA since 1982. The legislative power is exercised by two chambers, a National Assembly and a Senate put in place since 2013.

Cameroon is member of many international institutions and organizations, and shelters some of them headquarters. Among them we have: BEAC, CEMAC, ECCAS, CBLT, OHADA,OAPI, CBC, Golf of Guinea Commission etc., it is today a member by right of  the International Organization of Francophonie, and also of Commonwealth due to its bilingualism. Cameroon is also a Francophonie’s parliamentarian Assembly member.

Administratively, Cameroon counts today ten regions divided into 58 departments. Departments are divided into districts. The politic capital yaounde is the institutions’ headquarter while Douala is the economic capital.

ECONOMY

Cameroon’s economy is the most diversified in Central Africa, not only thanks to many foreign investments but also thanks countless national groups. Three sectors constitute this economy, namely the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. The country has natural agricultural resources (bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, honey), forestry, mining (bauxite, iron, cobalt, nickel, manganese, diamond, marble, gas), petroleum and industries, (drinks, sweets, oil mil, soap factory, flour mill, aluminum, cement, metallurgy, primary wood processing, etc.).

Agriculture is rightly considered as the pillar of the Cameroon’s economy. With an employment of 70% of the active population, it contributes about 42% of the active population. It is broken down into several components, especially cash crops and subsistence crops (cotton, palm groves, tea, cocoa-coffee, rubber, sugar, cassava, potato, rice, maize, banana-plantain sectors. Many sectors have developed, such as the poultry and the cattle breeding sectors just to name a few.

As for fisheries, about 64 000 tons of marine products are fished every year off Cameroon’s coast. Traditional maritime fishing, practiced on canoes along the 400 km coast, especially in the mangroves. 10,000 tons of prawns are included in this number, quite as much as mainland traditional fisheries on artificial lakes and rivers. Traditional fisheries provide about 65,000 direct jobs and 135,000 indirect jobs in fish wholesaler, material processing and construction. Douala is the only industrial fishing port (10 000 t/year).

Tourism represents 2.5% of Cameroon’s GDP, the Government a long term adjustment plan in order to improve the bulk of visitors to Cameroon from 200 000 persons in 2002 to 500 000 persons in 2009. In 2012, Cameroon welcomed 817 000 tourists. Cameroon has three natural sites classified under the UNESCO World Heritage notably; the Dja Wild Life Reserve, the Waza National Park and the Lobeke National Park which are part of the Sangha Trinational. We can equally quote the; Museum of Baham in the West Region and the FOVU Falls, the National Museum found located at the Yaounde Central Town, Traditional Palaces of the West and North West Regions, Mt. Cameroon (4 070 m) in the South West Region, which is the highest in Cameroon and in West Africa, the Kapsiki Lunar Landscape in the North, the Lobe Falls in Kribi.

The Financial sector comprises of 13 commercial banks notably (Afriland First Bank, BICEC, SGBC, SCB ATTIJARIWAFA BANK, ECOBANK, CBC (Commercial Bank of Cameroon), Standard Chartered Bank,  Citibank, UBA, UBC, NFC, BGFI, Atlantic Bank),  8 financial companies ( Africa Leasing Company (ALC), Land Bank of Cameroon (CFC), PRO-PME Financing Plc (PRO-PME), Cameroon Car finance Company(SOCCA), Cameroon Company of Equipment, Cameroon Debt Collection Company (SRC), African Financial Company(SFA), National Company of Investment(SNI), and 495 Microfinance Companies apportioned into 3 categories.

GOOD ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES

With a strategic geographical position making it a natural outlet for the countries and landlocked regions of Central Africa(Chad, Central Africa Republic and the north of Congo), Cameroon is undoubtedly an influent country of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa(CEMAC). The Economic growth of Cameroon has accelerated over the last period moving from approximately 2% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2015, and 4,8% in 2016(2017 prevision:4.2%), according to authorities prevision. The IMF believes that the increase of the real GDP should remain above 5% per annum during the next years, thanks notably to the oil production(new oilfield development),the achievements of public investments and the improvement of the agricultural productivity. Since 2010 the inflation average has remained below 3%.  Cameroon Government envisions to take greater benefit from the opportunities offered by the public-private partnerships(PPP), in order to mobilize the necessary resources for financing its development strategy recorded in Growth and Employment Strategy Paper(GESP) adopted in 2009.

THE KEY SECTORS

Services

The services represent close to half of the GDP (47% in 2014) and employ 22% of the active population. The services have become the most dynamic source of growth for the Cameroonian economy. Boosted by the good health of telecommunications, transport and logistics, the increase of the tertiary sector’s share in the country’s GDP is a trend which is most likely to settle as it is based on various activities experiencing a boom, notably in the field of Health, Education and Administration, as of those of Trade, Hotel and Catering.

MINES AND HYDROCARBONS

Cameroon has an oil production capacity of 100 000 barrels/day. The country is furthermore preparing to value its natural gas (whose resources are estimated at 160 billion cubic meters) from Kribi Complex where LNG a subsidiary of the Hydrocarbons National Company(HNC) and GDF Suez, is ending the construction of  its liquefaction unit. Rich in diamond, bauxite, iron, cobalt, nickel and gold, the Cameroonian subsoil is reported to contain more than fifty ores and some of which are not yet exploited. Over the last decade, the Government has granted number of mining exploration and exploitation licenses and some of which are beginning to bear fruits. Located in the East, the diamond deposit of Mobilong has given its first stones in early 2013. The Korean operator Cameroon & Korea Mining(C&KM) estimates its potential at 18 million carats. The American Geovic Mining Corp, via its subsidiary Geovic Cameroon, associated itself end of July 2013 to the Chinese Jianxi Rare Metals Tungsten Group Holding Company (JXTC) in order to accelerate the development and the production launch of the mine of cobalt, nickel and manganese of Nkamouna( South-East) of which some reserves are estimated to more than 100 millions of tons of ores. Finally the Mbalam-Nabeba iron deposit –considered as the second greater iron deposit in the continent- is estimated to 35 millions of tons over twenty years.

INFRASTRUCTURES

After a serious relaxation in the maintenance and the updating of the transport infrastructures and a disinvestment of the energy sector-of which the country remain the most important producer within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the Government will finally work twice as hard to achieve the urgent projects identified in its Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP). A revival widely motivated by the fact that the latter, of a crucial importance for the development of the sub region equally require funding from regional and international partners. The energy plan of Cameroon aims to alleviate the country’s deficit (40 GWh/year) to carry the installed capacity to 5000 MW by 2020 (up from 1337MW actually). The total cost of the production infrastructures achievement and of electricity transportation is estimated to more than 5850 billion CFA Francs (8.9 billions of Euros) over the period 2010-2020. The country is further coupled to the implementation of a hydroelectricity network, knowing that it has on this matter an estimated potential of 20 GW (the second of the continent after DRC) of which it exploits only 6%.

AGRICULTURE AND AGROFORESTRY

The Government has elaborated in 2008 a stimulus plan to extend the cultivated superficies ( a quarter of the country’s arable lands), facilitate inputs supply as well as the  peasants access to funding. Results: cash and subsistence crops price climbed again in 2012. Café and cacao first processing activities increased the added value of exportation products, as well as those of palm oil, but they must again be developed and extended to other sector (cotton, rubber). Among the other running yards: the performance improvement in fruits exploitation, especially bananas (of which exploitation represents around 3% of the state’s revenues apart from oil.), and the recovery of the forestry sector. Wood which is as of now the first Cameroonian product of exportation apart from oil( around 30% of the revenues), could pay a lot more, considering that only the half of the million cubic meter exported each year is locally transformed.