Cameroon seeks to improve economic growth and address debt distress through export strategies and AGOA reinstatement.
Cameroon’s economy minister, Alamine Ousmane Mey, highlighted the country’s efforts to increase export revenues and rejoin the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) initiative to tackle economic challenges and debt distress.
Cameroon’s economic growth forecasts and debt distress
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 4.3% economic growth for Cameroon, a Central African oil producer, in 2021, after a decline to 0.5% in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and global shocks from the war in Ukraine. However, the IMF has classified Cameroon as being at high risk of debt distress, emphasizing the need for fiscal reforms and active debt management.
Cameroon’s efforts to boost export revenues
To address the debt distress and improve the country’s economic outlook, Cameroon’s economy minister, Alamine Ousmane Mey, highlighted the importance of improving the debt service coverage from exports. He stated that Cameroon is working on import substitution policies to reduce imports, increase production, and promote exports, which would create a better room for debt service coverage. By focusing on export strategies, Cameroon aims to increase its export revenues and mitigate the risk of debt distress.
In addition to export strategies, Cameroon has also relaunched talks with the U.S. to rejoin the AGOA initiative. AGOA grants qualifying African countries tariff-free access to the U.S. market, promoting trade and economic growth. Cameroon was suspended from AGOA by former President Donald Trump in late 2019 due to concerns over human rights violations by Cameroonian security forces during the ongoing conflict in the country’s English-speaking regions. However, Cameroon is actively working to address the issues raised and resolve the problems to reinstate its participation in AGOA.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a regional trade group that links many African states.