By Victorine BIY, Cameroon Tribune
Cameroon’s balance of trade with the European Union is lopsided. Experts say the country’s exports are below expectation. The unfavourable situation is coming at a time when much is expected from the country as per the Economic Partnership Agreement. Figures from the Ministry of theEconomy, Planning and Regional Development reveal that Cameroon, witnessed a deficit in balance of trade by 1.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2014 as against 0.7 per cent in 2013. The situation is blamed on the drop by 17.6 per cent of non-oil products, an increase of imports of goods and equipment for infrastructure projects as well as foodstuff to bridge local production.
It is in this light that government and its partners are accelerating plans to put in place a national strategy on imports and exports. The EU funded and supported project is intended to boost the private sector with focus on reforming the country’s economy. A meeting to this effect held on July 16, 2015, in Yaounde with the Secretary General at the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Gilbert Didier Edoa, chairing. He regretted the persistent shortfall in the country’s balance of trade with its partners, saying the putting in place of the national strategy could help matters.
The strategy will provide opportunities for the country to export quality products and Cameroon can only benefit from it once it is fully implemented, stressed the European Union Ambassador to Cameroon, Françoise Collet. It is only after respecting the recommendations of the scheme that Cameroon will fully benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement, she said.
The approach will serve as a motivation for business persons. “We have our backs on the wall and the only option is to forge ahead and put a strong structure in terms of exports as we face the reality of our economy,” said Lucien Ntamag Mahop, expert at the meeting. He explained that the facilities of the paper hinge on enforcing the country’s industrialisation drive with stress on sectors like agriculture. Cameroon and other countries of the region are now expected to face the challenge. Experts say it is a progressive partnership and tides will change in two years if all the structures the strategy recommends are implemented.