Cameroon’s Trade Deficit: Importation impedes local production

The government of Cameroon has engaged on a mission to revamp local
production and brand made in Cameroon products.

The resolve was taken during the first cabinet meeting for the year 2019, first under Joseph Dion Njute as Prime Minister – Head of Government.

During the meeting, the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga
Atangana indicated that Cameroon spent 9,634 billion CFA francs in imports resulting in a trade balance deficit attributed high imports at the detriment of local production.

Statistic from the National Institute of Statistics reveal that between 2015 and 2017, Cameroon spent XAF 9,634 billion, in hydrocarbons (XAF 1,652.1 billion over the period reviewed), vehicles and tractors (CFA 653.6 billion), consumer
products such as rice (CFA 508.5 billion), fish and shellfish (CFA 448 billion), and pharmaceutical products (CFA 372 billion).

The overall imports double the 2019 State budget which stands at CFA 4,850 billion in revenues and expenditures.

Amongst the measures proposed by government to revamp the economy is
to cut imports and boost local production in quality and quality.

During his presentation at the cabinet meeting, Minister Luc Magloire
Atangana said, “Our country imports foodstuffs as well as manufactured
products that can actually be produced locally to satisfy not only
local demand but also the regional market.

These imports, we can well imagine, significantly weigh on our economy (…) the strategy is to boost made-in-Cameroon products to cut import.

Without claiming self-sufficiency, our country is capable of keeping import volumes in check by limiting it to what’s really needed, this means just to
products that can boost our economy and make it more competitive.”

Since independence Cameroon has also been a net exporter of raw
commodities and a net importer of finished goods with high value
added.

Cameroon’s main exports include: oil, gas, aluminium and gold to China, United States, France and Belgium.

The country also exports cocoa, banana, coffee and tea. However imports largely surpass imports.

During the first half 2018 for example, Cameroon’s trade balance deficit peaked at CFA 818.1 billion compared to CFA 380
billion the same period last year, according to a report from the National Institute of Statistics.

The document revealed that this gap increase by CFA 437.7 billion (+115.1%) is the consequence of a rise in imports (+20.8% in value and 27.2% in volume) while exports dropped by 16.8% in value and 24.7% in volume over the period.

Elvis Teke

Elvis Teke

Journalist, Online Reporter, News Presenter, Programme Anchor, Peace Advocate, Geo-strategist,

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