Cameroon: Experts trained to help remove barriers to sub-regional trade

Yaounde, 4 July 2018 (ECA - – The Permanent Secretary of Cameroon’s Ministry of Trade – Mr. Achille Bassilekin III, on behalf of his Minister, has reiterated to the authorities of the CEMAC and ECCAS, Cameroon's concern with regard to impediments to the development of intra-community trade and the emergence of national and regional champions in Central Africa.

Mr. Bassilekin III expressed this concern during the opening ceremony in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, of a training workshop for members of the National Approval Committee and economic stakeholders in Cameroon on the procedures for accrediting their industrial products into the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime. The activity is part of a contribution agreement signed by the European Union (EU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for the further harmonization of ECCAS and CEMAC trade policy instruments.

The Minister’s representative praised the efforts of ECA and the EU to help the countries of the Central African sub-region succeed in their free trade project within the new context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), while acknowledging the timeliness of the training workshop, which is also being organized in other Central African countries.

"Let me use this opportunity to deplore, here, the difficulties faced by some of our companies, which despite obtaining these approvals, do not always manage to freely get their products into a number of markets of the sub-region, "he insisted.

According to the Permanent Secretary of Cameroon’s Ministry of Trade, " during the year 2015, our country exported, to other countries of the regional economic community, goods worth about 185 billion CFA Francs" adding that " these results would have been much more significant if certain impediments to the full implementation of the approvals in question had been lifted. "

He recalled that the value of ECCAS intra-community trade amounted to only 1.5 billion dollars in 2015 - representing 3% of the volume of trade in the sub-region – well below the continental average, but above all, far below the potential of Central African economies.

Speaking on behalf of the Director of ECA's Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, while conveying the heartfelt greetings of Ms. Vera Songwe - Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ms. Mama Keita, in turn, made a link between the objectives of the workshop and Africa’s vision to become a vast free trade area and congratulated Cameroon on having signed, under the leadership of President Paul Biya, the protocol establishing the AfCFTA in March 2018.

"This is an opportunity for us to recall that the Continental Free Trade Area complements and strengthens the sub-regional free trade area, thus offering an even larger market to the industrialists of the sub-region," she said, before indicating that the implementation of the procedures of admission of the industrial products into ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime, will allow the countries of the sub-region to improve their levels of competitiveness and accelerate their industrialization processes.

The three-day workshop will allow economic stakeholders and members of the National Approvals Committee for the Accreditation of Industrial Products into the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime to:

- become better acquainted with the harmonized instruments and tools of the ECCAS Free Trade Area;
- master the process of compiling application files for the accreditation of industrial products into the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime;
- become familiar with the techniques for gauging the origin of community-produced industrial products; and,
- internalize the techniques of evaluating and verifying information provided by economic Stakeholders in the context of their applications for accreditation.

The Yaounde training follows another training of the same type organized in Libreville, Gabon, from 19 to 21 June 2018 for economic stakeholders and members of the National Approvals Committee of that country. The next training workshop is for scheduled to N'Djamena in Chad, from July 10 to 12, 2018.


Issued by:

The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 222504348 / 222504315 / 222504321

Media Contact
Abel Akara Ticha – Communication Officer
Tel: 237 222504348