UK-Cameroon promote bilateral trade at investment forum

UK-CameroonUK’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds and Prime Minister of Cameroon Philemon Yang at the investment forum. (Image source: GOV.UK)UK Minister for Africa and Cameroon's Prime Minister set a fresh agenda for trade ties at the 2014 UK-Cameroon Trade & Investment Forum organised in London recently

During the bilateral trade and investment forum, UK’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds outlined the dedication and commitment of the UK government to the promotion of business interests and partnerships that serve economic development.

Simmonds said the partnership between the two nations is both long-standing and mutually beneficial. Bilateral trade is rising, with British companies contributing to banking, oil and gas, mining, power generation, accountancy and consultancy. The last sector was particularly noted, given the work of Ernst & Young in Cameroon.

Cameroon offers a vital link between Anglophone and Francophone Africa, and also boasts three key ports, in addition to its vast natural resources and burgeoning primary industries.

He regarded the forum as a call to action to create sustainable businesses and jobs, and drive economic growth forward.

The forum served as an effective vehicle for infrastructure investment - in road construction, in the building of an extended railway network, for example, built on the back of a much-improved banking sector, conducive to investment entities, from revenues gained through mineral extraction and export such as bauxite, and also from agricultural exports, such as in the cocoa sector.

The forum was also attended by the Prime Minister of Cameroon Philemon Yang who led a delegation of 150 to the UK. He offered the full backing of his office to trade between Cameroonian businesses and their British counterparts, and to a framework conducive to the British investment community.

Prime Minister Yang offered a guarantee of transparency, to a climate free from corrupt practices in public affairs, with a strong legal environment and press freedoms underpinning access to the information desired by corporates and entrepreneurs seeking to work in the country.

Mining, agriculture, tourism and energy sectors were all described by the Prime Minister as subject to an energy strategy paper developed by his government to ensure further growth.

Yang called for investment in new highways - for example, connecting Cameroon to Nigeria - to support delivery of the aims towards which the government's strategy paper is geared.

He said that investments are already ensuring significant delivery - but more is needed, and domestic revenues are insufficient to achieve all aims. The Cameroonian Prime Minister asked for British businesses to engage in public-private partnership arrangements to bring his nation further forward.

He added that the ambition is to see Cameroon lead an elite of African nations, with truly global pretensions, by 2035 - with increasing affluence, trade, and economic stability.

Along the sidelines of the forum, Guilio Casello, chief executive of Sundance Resources, shed light on the company’s interest in CamIron SA - a US$5bn project, which is set to extract and process high grade hematite resources commercially in Cameroon after several years of project development.

He said that the core aim is to generate the revenues and profits not only to serve the investor community but also to drive infrastructure development in Cameroon and its neighbouring countries, principally on the back of iron ore exports to China.

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