Cameroon 2012: Economic Cooperation, Regional Integration, & Trade

Cameroon belongs to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), which are due to merge to open the way for the creation of a single African currency among the eight Regional Economic Communities recognised by the African Union. A pilot committee was set up on 5 July 2010 with the aim of facilitating the rationalisation process leading to harmonisation of the institutional framework and projects of the ECCAS and CEMAC.

Cameroon is also strengthening its co‑operation with the new emerging countries, while not abandoning its traditional partners. In the first half of 2011, the government signed 18 agreements and financing conventions representing a total XAF 675 billion with bilateral and multilateral fund providers.

There is little diversification of foreign trade in terms of products or trading partners. The European Union is the country’s leading partner, with a 41% share of trade by value, followed by East Asia with 18.3%, the CEMAC zone with 8%, North America with 4.7%, West Africa with 3.4% and Latin America with 2.6%. For the last five years at least, Cameroon’s trade deficit has been widening as imports have increased, especially food products, oil and gas, fuels and lubricants, inorganic chemical products and fertilisers. The trade deficit could be reduced slightly to 1.4% of GDP, compared with 3.7% in 2011, in 2012 as a result of higher oil revenue.  This would reduce the current-account deficit from 6.3% of GDP in 2011 to 5.4% in 2012.

Excerpt from African Economic Outlook 2012: Cameroon