TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Cameroon: AGOA Forum - PM lobbies for investment assistance

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Source: Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon's Prime Minister, Head of Government, Ephraim Inoni is expected to use the 7th edition of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in Washington DC to lobby for technical assistance to private investment in Cameroon. World leaders are gathered for the forum that runs from 14 to 16 July 2008 under the theme, "Mobilising Private Investment for Trade and Growth".

Information from AGOA website states that it is a progressive U.S. trade and investment policy toward the continent that is reducing barriers to trade, increasing diversified exports, creating jobs and expanding opportunities for Africans to build better lives. The African Growth and Opportunity Act, specifically, provides trade preferences to designated countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms. The 2008 AGOA forum focuses on creating a business climate that will encourage private investment and help mobilise capital to finance investment.

According to CRTV reports monitored from Yaounde, other key members of the Cameroonian delegation to the Washington DC Forum include the Ministers of Finance, Essimi Menye, Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, as well as the Director of Cabinet at the Prime Minister's Office, Paul Meoto Njie, and Assistant Secretary General at the Prime Minister's Office, Emmanuel Nganou Ndjoumessi. Cameroon became eligible to the AGOA concept in 2000.

The country's delegation would seek ways of making Cameroonian goods attractive and of ensuring that the private sector makes maximum use of the opportunity to get more goods into the American markets. This is because statistics show that Cameroon has very little benefits to show since adhering to the AGOA concept. As at 2005 and 2006 or much more earlier, basically, three enterprises could boost of having benefited from AGOA.

The private enterprises include: the BRODWELL enterprise in Douala specialised in manufacturing bathing clothing, and the African Women Art, made up of 2,500 women, based in Douala. Since, 2001, the group exports three containers of handicraft every year to the United States. The third enterprise is the North West Cooperative Association, said to have signed an agreement to export 1,000 tonnes of coffee as from 2006 and 5,000 tonnes in the following years.