I am very happy to be with you today during this information meeting on sensitising the business community to CEMAC days which my ministry proposes to organise in Brazil, the United States, Morocco and Nigeria.
It is our country’s attempt, in her quest for emergence, as recommended by His Excellency, Mr Paul BIYA, the President of the Republic, to intensify and reinforce her exports and, at the same time, attract maximum foreign direct investment. It is also a matter of diversifying our commercial partners and improving our trade balance.
This is the objective behind the concept of ETDs, whose first edition took place in September 2009, in Calabar in Nigeria.
This year, the organisation of these days will go an extra mile, in the sense that their activities will extend to the American continent, with steps in Brazil and the United States, without neglecting, with respect to reinforcing regional integration, the African continent, with Morocco and Nigeria.
As you may well imagine, the choice of these countries is not by chance.
As concerns the United States, it is a matter of taking advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), enacted by the U.S. Congress on t 18 May 2000 which grants some products imported from our countryduty-free access to the U.S. market.
The products concerned include textiles.
The expiry date of this Law was set for 2015, and the procedure for extension till 2025 is ongoing.
It should be recalled that, in terms of opportunities of export goods to the American market, AGOA represents 6400 products, among which are textiles, timber, handicrafts, agro-processed products like cocoa butter or ethnic products. It should be said that there is something for Cameroonian economic operators.
As concerns Brazil, it is a country which today has a big market and which has shown proof that one can move from a poor economy or a middle-income country to become emergent in a few years.
These are therefore great opportunities that our country should seize. The government has taken the option to benefit from them.
As concerns the African continent, it should be said that the decision to establish a continental free trade area by 2017, which had been proposed by the Conference of African Ministers of Trade (that took place in Accra in November 2011) to the Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government, was endorsed in January 2012, at Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia.
Our country would want to stay ahead of the curve in taking concrete initiatives, like the Economic and Trade Days.
Talking precisely about Nigeria, we have to continue what we started well in 2009 and continued in 2010 in Calabar, Kano and Port Harcourt.
These experiences enabled us to know about the huge opportunities that this country offers, with its 150 million consumers, and which our economic operators can benefit from through neighbourhood economic and commercial cooperation.
As concerns Morocco, the ambition is to promote the label “Cameroon” in Maghrebian countries and through them, use this platform to conquer the Near and Middle East markets, which posses a creditworthy demand.
From a practical point of view, ETDs concern mainly the following activities:
- an exhibition of “made in Cameroon” products ;
- a Business forum between Cameroonian economic operators and those of the host countries, with the aim of establishing fruitful partnerships.
I would wish to add that after this ceremony, other meetings will be held at the level of the Ministry of Trade and will clarify more and more the requirements for participation of the various interested enterprises.
In any case, the reflection will be done with you, Ladies and Gentlemen, Economic operators, taking into consideration the specific difficulties of each country concerned. Our diplomatic representatives in place are already working to gather the necessary information for a better preparation for these days.
However, I can inform you that, just for reference, the following dates have been fixed :
- Morocco, Casablanca, 24 – 29 April 2012 ;
- Brazil, Brasilia, 5 – 10 June 2012 ;
- United States, Miami, Washington, 14 – 20 June 2012;
- Nigeria, Lagos, 26 June – 1 July 2012.
The activity sectors shall include:
- agro food ;
- textiles ;
- handicrafts ;
- fruits and vegetables ;
- chemical industry ;
- aluminium industry ;