The Government has lauded the opening of a modern shopping centre called Carrefour Market at Bonamoussadi in Douala V, by CFAO Retail, a new Division of the French Group, CFAO.
Speaking at the official inauguration of Carrefour Market on December 5, the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, who represented the Prime Minister said the Government welcomes all national and foreign investors in the country, to help boost the economy. He said the decision by CFAO Retail to sell, not only imported products at Carrefour Market, but to also sell a large variety of local agricultural and manufactured products, is highly appreciated by the Government, as it falls in line with its policy to promote local production.
Mbarga Atangana said Government is also happy with the fact that the bulk of workers that CFAO Retail has recruited at Carrefour Market are Cameroonian youths.
He equally appreciated the fact that that CFAO Retail decided to open the modern shopping centre in a quarter (Bonamoussadi) at the periphery of nation’s economic capital, Douala, and not in the city centre (Akwa) like many others companies do. He encouraged investors in the domain of super market in Douala to try to spread out to other quarters, including those in the periphery in order to help modernise Douala town and give the inhabitants the opportunity to also enjoy modern shopping.
FCFA 7 Billion Project
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of CFAO Retail, Xavier Desjobert, remarked that the Group CFAO is not new in Cameroon, as it has been operating in quite a number of sectors in the country for many years. He, however, explained that what is new about CFAO in Cameroon today is the new Division known as CFAO Retail that creates and operates modern shopping centres.
The CEO disclosed that, in 2013, CFAO Retail and a partner, Carrefour, agreed to get into a joint venture to rollout several dozen modern shopping centres in eight African countries: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Gabon, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ghana and Congo Republic. The two partners adopted the name, Carrefour Market, for their shopping centres. The first of the eight countries where CFAO Retail and Carrefour entered was Ivory Coast, where two shopping centres have already been opened – the first opened in 2015. He was happy to state that the second of the eight countries is Cameroon.
“Cameroon is a priority in CFAO Retail’s strategy,” he said.
The CEO said they actually got into Cameroon since 2015 and have, in the past two years, been constructing the infrastructure, creating partnerships and equipping the shops. He disclosed has swallowed the total sum of 7billon FCFA.
“The opening of the Bonamoussadi Carrefour Market marks the start of a crucial phase in the roll-out of mass retail development plan, as we move into second phase,” the perfectly bilingual French man declared. He disclosed they have a plan to eventually open shopping centres in Yaounde and other major towns across the country.
‘No Need To Go Abroad For Shopping’
The CFAO Retail CEO said their shopping centres give top priority to quality products, be they foreign or local products. He said Carrefour Market features dozens of shops dealing in large varieties of products. He disclosed that the shopping centre will be dealing with a total of over 10,000 products. As for the foreign products, Desjobert said nobody in Cameroon will need to go again to Paris or to other places in Europe for shopping, because, the same products of international standard or brands sold in Europe will be found at Carrefour Market.
“As for local products, we already offer 1,500 products from local channels, and Carrefour Market has formed partnerships with local producers and cooperatives in order to promote the development of local agriculture,” the CEO disclosed. The local products include fresh agricultural products, fruits, fish, honey, fresh meat, vegetables and so on. A variety of locally manufactured products are also being sold at Carrefour Market. He said Carrefour Market is an international brand, thus has an international image to protect, hence tests will be regularly conducted in appropriate laboratories in Cameroon as well as abroad, to ensure that local producers are maintaining standard.
The CEO also stated that Carrefour Market also a community hub for spending time together. There are, two restaurants at Carrefour Market that offer both local and foreign meals, a bakery, a snack bar and so on. MTN and Youmee and Canal+ and a financial institution, SGC, are also present.
Some 200 Direct Jobs Already
The General Manager of CFAO Retail Cameroun, Luc Dumez, disclosed that the business took off with some 200 direct jobs, including the posts of 15 managers, already created for young Cameroonians. He stated that the shopping centre has employees from some 20 professions. Dumez disclosed that the 15 Cameroonians that were recruited as managers of the different sections were sent to Abidjan in Ivory Coast for training.
The Minister of Trade was accompanied to the ceremony by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Gregoire Owona, and the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Jean Claude Mbwentchou.