Cameroon’s Direct Foreign Investment Drops By 35 Per Cent Due To COVID-19

Since the beginning of the 2000s, China has been the leader in foreign investments in Cameroon.

The COVID-19 pandemic that has been ravaging the world for over one year now has caused a drop of 35 per cent in direct foreign investments in Cameroon during the year 2020.

According to the National Technical Committee on the Balance of Payments, Cameroon was able to attract 341.3 billion FCFA (about 680 million US dollars) in direct foreign investments during the year 2020.

This is a drop of about 185 billion FCFA (about 370 US dollars) as compared to 2019 during which the country attracted 527 billion FCFA (about 1 billion US dollars) in direct foreign investments.

The National Technical Committee on the Balance of Payments attributed the drop to the coronavirus pandemic. Cameroon recorded its first positive case in March 2020.

The pandemic has constrained international investment companies to suspend their investments worldwide thereby reducing the movement of direct foreign investments.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, China has been the leader in foreign investments in Cameroon.

“Between 2000 and 2014, Cameroon captured 2,750 billion FCFA of direct foreign investments, with 1,850 billion FCFA coming from China. This represents 67 per cent of direct foreign investments coming to Cameroon,”  a document published by Cameroon’s presidency citing data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reveals.

“The rest of direct foreign investments came from France, the United States, and Nigeria.”

The predominance of Chinese investments in Cameroon was reinforced with the launching in 2010 of first-generation structural projects such as roads, bridges and dams.

Most of the Chinese investments are financed by Eximbank China which is a public finance institution and which financing is linked and each project loan is accompanied by the name of the enterprise that is to execute the contract.

The main Chinese companies executing structural projects in Cameroon are the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the China Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), SINOHYDRO as well as Hauwei and ZTE in telecommunications.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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