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Cameroon: New Decree Paves Way for Enhanced Trade Exchanges With Algeria

On August 1, 2023, Cameroon’s Head of State, Paul Biya, signed a decree ratifying the February 24, 2021 agreement on air transport services between the Republic of Cameroon and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. According to authorized sources, the ratification of this agreement paves the way for the opening of air links between the two countries, to boost tourism and trade.

Thanks to the presidential decree of August 1, 2023, Algerian state carrier Air Algérie can finally materialize its plans to land in Cameroonian skies, as announced since the beginning of 2019 by the Cameroon Aviation Authority (CCAA). According to details provided by specialized media Air Journal after the signing of the air agreement in February 2021, Air Algérie is set to fly thrice weekly to Douala from Algiers-Houari Boumediene airport. It will use a Boeing 737-800 with a capacity of 48 passengers in business and 114 in economy classes.

The opening of this air link between the two countries, pending the resumption of international flights by Cameroon’s state airline, Camair-Co, should help boost trade between Cameroon and Algeria. “Cameroon is an open door to the CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community), which is a very important economic grouping with 120 million consumers, representing enormous potential for us,” said Hocine Boubtina, then Secretary General of Algeria’s National Agency for the Promotion of Foreign Trade (Algex), in 2018, at an information day on business, partnership, and export opportunities with central African countries organized in Algiers, Algeria. 

Less diversified trade exchanges 

For the time being, trade between Cameroon and Algeria is low.  According to data from the Cameroonian Institute of Statistics, INS, Algeria was Cameroon’s 11th largest African supplier in 2021. That year, Algeria exported 445,200 tons of goods worth CFAF19 billion to Cameroon. Over the same period, Cameroon exported only 4,000 tons of goods to Algeria, with a cash value of CFAF3.2 billion.

According to data from Cameroon’s customs authorities, trade with Algeria was much more dynamic in 2022. They officially peaked at CFAF55.7 billion, with the trade balance being largely positive for the North African country. Specifically, Algeria exported a record 719,600 tons of goods to Cameroon, worth CFAF52.4 billion. Cameroon, on the other hand, exported just 2,700 tons of goods to Algeria, earning CFAF3.3 billion.

Customs data also reveal that trade between the two countries is limited to just a few goods. Algeria’s exports to Cameroon consist mainly of clinker. This raw material used in the manufacturing of cement accounts for 97.6% of Algerian exports to Cameroon between 2020 and 2022. Cameroon, on the other hand, only sells coffee (79.5% of exports between 2020 and 2022) and cocoa paste (19%) to Algeria. From this point of view, the opening of air links appears to be an opportunity to diversify trade between the two countries.

Source : Business In Cameroon