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Sino-Cameroon Trade Relations: Partnering With World Economic Giant

Sino-Cameroon economic ties which dates as far back as 1971 needs oiling through new prospections. The Peoples Republic of China is undoubtedly a major world economic power towering with a nominal Gross Domestic Product of 11 trillion US Dollars (14.8 per cent) Gross World Product according to March 2017 World Economic Forum statistics. China is second to the USA which holds 24.3 per cent gross world product (18 trillion dollars). The Chinese economy has been tremendously transformed into a manufacturing and exporting hub over the past years. China’s trade exchanges with Cameroon according to the Chinese Embassy in Yaounde stood at 1.96 billion Dollars in 2016. Sino-Cameroon bilateral ties were established since 1971. From 1990, the relations between Yaounde and Beijing has grown rapidly characterised by exchange visits of the highest authorities of the two countries. President Paul Biya visited China in 1993, 2000, 2003 and 2011 while the former Chinese leader Hu Jintao visited Cameroon in 2007. During President Biya’s 2011 official visit to China, five economic and technical partnership agreements were signed including a 100 million Yuan ( about FCFA 6.386 billion) non-interest loan for execution of economic and technical cooperation as well as 433 million Yuan (circa FCFA 27.651 billion) preferential loan for the e-post project in Cameroon. President while speaking in China stated that Cameroon is engaged in an extensive development programme geared at making Cameroon an emerging country by 2035. For the realisation of the programme, Cameroon counts on its human and natural resources as well as external partners. “I am pleased to affirm that China counts among our most reliable and most faithful external partners,” he said in 2011. In addition to the 2002 Trade, Economic and Technical partnership agreements signed between the Republic of Cameroon and the People’s Republic of China to boost trade exchanges between both countries, the two nation further strengthened bilateral cooperation on July 7, 2016 by signing an agreement exempting nationals of both countries who are holders of diplomatic or service passport from entry visa requirement. By the dint of this milestone agreement, economic operators especially those from Cameroon who are holders of service passports have the Chinese goldmine vast market to explore. A senior official in the department of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development hinted Cameroon Business Today that 90 per cent of Cameroon’s economic cooperation is with China. The Asian giant, she noted is present in Cameroon in all sectors including agriculture, ICTs, infrastructure development, mining amongst others. The Chinese Ambassador to Cameroon Wei Wenhua noted during the signing of the visa exemption agreement in Yaounde that Cameroon is China’s first commercial partner and second highest beneficiary of Chinese investment in Africa. Since 2011, Cameroon is the fourth African country benefitting from preferential loans from the Chinese government China is the highest importer of Cameroon’s raw timber with 407,000 cubic metres of wood imported in 2013 according to statistics from the Customs department. Meanwhile other primary product (agricultural and mining products) are exported to China while Cameroon imports electronics, ICTs, frozen fish, Rice amongst others from China.

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