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If you’re considering trading in Cameroon, it’s important to get equipped with the most up-to-date trade information. With numbers fluctuating by the year, it can be hard to keep track of the current state of trade, but Cameroon, Africa has proven to be a stable partner, increasing its per capita GDP in 2021, even after the tumultuous landscape of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about trade in Cameroon.
Officially the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), Cameroon is a country in west-central Africa, bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south.
Its coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West Africa and Central Africa, it has been categorized into both camps and has nearly 27 million people who speak 250 native languages.
In 2021, Cameroon had a per capita GDP of $1,650, though income and wealth are mostly concentrated in Yaoundé, the capital, and Douala, the commercial center of the country. It has experienced steady, but slow growth over the last 20 years. Per IMF statistics, Cameroon’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank – by 2.8% in 2020 primarily due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to rebound with 3.4% growth projected in 2021. Inflation has been moderate over the same period, as the local currency, the Central African Franc, is pegged to the Euro. Despite belonging to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), Cameroon has a negligible trade relationship with Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Central African Republic, and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).
In 2019, Cameroon exported $5.21 billion and imported $6.07 billion worth of goods and services, resulting in a negative trade balance of $86 million, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology statistics. Cameroon’s top exports were crude petroleum ($1.89 billion), cocoa beans ($647 million), sawn wood ($518 million), gold ($454 million), petroleum gas ($404 million), bananas ($266 million), and rough wood ($251 million). The top export destinations were China ($906 million), the Netherlands ($702 million), Italy ($476 million), United Arab Emirates ($397 million), and India ($381 million). In 2019, Cameroon exported $302 million of goods to the United States.
In 2019, Cameroon’s top imports were crude petroleum ($346 million), scrap vessels ($332 million), rice ($323 million), special purpose ships ($216 million), and packaged medicines ($169 million). The top exporters to Cameroon are China ($1.68 billion), Nigeria ($889 million), France ($567 million), Belgium ($334 million), and Thailand ($237 million). In 2019, the United States exported $191 million of goods and services to Cameroon.
Cameroon remains one of the most stable countries in the Central Africa sub-region due to its location, steady currency, and opportunity for business trade. It is located between Nigeria, a market of 186 million people, and the oil-rich CEMAC region with 50 million potential consumers. Cameroon has the potential to serve as a hub for major regional energy and transportation infrastructure projects for all of Central Africa
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