Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Poor People, Rich Cameroon 

By Ernest Ndukong

Cameroon is often described as Africa in miniature because it embodies the features of the rest of Africa. With a population of over 17 million, Cameroon is located on the west coast of Central Africa and covers an area of about 475,400 square kilometers.

Cameroon has an element of almost every economic activity one can imagine. Its activities stem from primary products like timber, cocoa and coffee through secondary ones like brewery and other manufacturing concerns to the tertiary like the financial and communication services.

The country boasts of an ideal climate and soils favourable for economically productive activities. The World Bank World Development Indicator shows that Cameroon has a positive net BOP of over US$300 million while other African countries observe persistent and undesirable deficits.

With respect to oil production, Cameroon averages around 100,000 barrels a day while Nigeria, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea produce over two million barrels on average among them.
Indisputably, Cameroon is the world’s fourth highest producer of cocoa behind Ivory Coast and Ghana in Africa who both contribute about two-thirds of cocoa beans output. The timber sector contributes about 10 percent of Cameroon’s GDP and employs about 25000 citizens.

Cameroon’s products are very widely demanded in the world market. Cocoa exported strikes a circa 200,000 metric tons annually while banana stands at about 300,000 metric tons per year. Rubber and cotton are also valuable cash crops hotly demanded in the world market and produced in abundance. Cameroon’s mineral sector remains virtually unexploited to say the least. Bauxite, for example, has about one billion metric tons as reserves in the Western, Eastern and North regions of the country.

The tertiary sector acts as the facilitator of the economy. The country counts three giant telecommunication networks, over 30 micro-finance institutions, about a dozen commercial banks and over and above all, a central bank. Business is further enhanced thanks to the country’s exposure and link to the rest of the world by road, air and water by which most products leave and enter the country.

Also, Cameroon has Africa’s largest hydro-electric potential after the DRC but many Cameroonians go for days with out a drop to drink and practically sleep in the dark.
It is worth mentioning that Cameroon stands in the middle of Africa’s ladder of GDP Per Capita Income classification with about FCFA 540.000 while Gabon and Equatorial Guinea top the chart with over FCFA 4 million and Uganda, Burundi and Liberia with less than FCFA 180.000 (IMF World Economic Outlook Database)

The million dollar question remains "why do Cameroonians die in poverty with the enormous resources?"  This is synonymous to a dirty person in the soap industry or a thirsty person in the water factory, what an irony.

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