African Continental Free Trade Area: Trade minister commissions first containerised shipment from Cameroon.

Containerised shipment to Algeria being loaded at Douala Port

The Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, representing the Prime Minister, Head of Government, has presided over the ceremony for the commissioning of the first containerised shipment of goods from Cameroon, under the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.



The shipment from the port of Douala, was destined to the port of Bejaia in Algeria. 

The commissioning ceremony took place on Friday 5 at the container terminal of the Douala port. It was graced by a cream of regional and administrative authorities, directors of companies, Douala Port executives, among others.

The shipment in question consisted of 25 tonnes of aluminum ingots manufactured by Cameroon Aluminum Company, ALUCAM, for the Algerian company, ALFILECT. The cargo of four 20-feet containers is intended to be used as a component in the manufacture of electrical cables. 

Agreements for the said shipment had been concluded under the coordination of the Cameroon National Shippers' Council, CNCC, which currently hosts the Ad hoc Sub-committee charged with the implementation and monitoring of the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative in Cameroon.

It should be noted that a similar ceremony had taken place in Kribi on July 17, 2023 when Cameroon received resins from Tunisia. Both handling operations fall within the framework of the initial phase of the implementation of AfCFTA 

 

Cameroon among first to meet objective 

Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, speaking at the ceremony noted that Cameroon is amongst the first in Africa to have met this objective, which is considered as beneficial for the state.

He said the successes recorded in handling the operations in Kribi and now Douala, are ways paved by the government to enable youth to better their future with the new system where Cameroon is exporting rather than importing.

While making reference to the Head of State, Paul Biya’s speech in Ebolowa on January 17, 2011 where he urged Cameroonians to produce what they consume and to consume what they produce, Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga said the presidential demand ties with the slogan at the origin and basis of the AfCFTA; “Produce for Africa, Consume African”.

Worthy of note is the fact that, the signing of the decree On October 31, 2019, by the President of the Republic ratifying the AfCFTA, marked Cameroon as the 33rd State Party to the Agreement. Cameroon was then designated as a pilot country, alongside other nations such as Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Morocco and Mauritius.

The Ministry of Trade then instructed the CNCC on September 8, 2022, to host the ad-hoc subcommittee responsible for the implementation in Cameroon. The mission of this subcommittee was to bring Cameroonian shippers to benefit from this preferential regime which will ultimately allow them to trade across the continent, without paying customs duties on 90% of trade.

Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana cuts inaugural ribbon

 

 

CNCC Director General hailed

The commitment and determination of the Director General of the National Shippers Council, Auguste Penda Mbappe, in his capacity as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Sub-Committee responsible for the implementation of the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative were commended by the trade minister. 

Penda Mbappe was applauded alongside other actors of the national port sector including the Port Authority of Douala and its Director General and the General Directorate of Customs, ALUCAM, among others.

 

Business community urged to take advantage of AfCFTA 

The ceremony at the Douala Port was yet another chance by state officials to urge the business community to take ownership of the new mechanism of AfCFTA. 

"I repeat, without a blink of the eye and without any shadow of doubt that it is the key to the future, and, why not, the now obligatory passage. A single African market, free, open, without tariff barriers or customs barriers for 1.3 billion consumers, just after China and India, is not common place…," the Minister said 

He added that Africa will be the first largest market in the world in the next 25 years, and will be registered as a zone of unparalleled prosperity. 

This potentials, he went on "is for the benefit of our economic operators and our populations”.

He was optimistic that the future of the Cameroonian youth is guaranteed with the AfCFTA.