The African Green Dialogue, led by the private sector, will promote discussions around green energy in Africa, marking a significant step in the journey towards the continent’s energy transition.
By Huang Meibo and Niu Dongfang
In March 2021, Georgetown Law, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, AidData, Center for Global Development and Kiel Institute for the World Economy of Germany jointly issued a report titled “How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments”. Through a comparison of 100 sovereign debt contracts signed by Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank), China Development Bank (CDB), Chinese state-owned commercial banks and Chinese government departments and 142 sovereign debt contracts signed between Cameroon and bilateral, multilateral and commercial creditors, the report points to the differences in the lending rules between China and mainstream Western institutions such as the Paris Club in the four aspects:
First, Chinese contracts contain unusual confidentiality clauses, which were introduced around the time of the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the report, confidentiality clauses would give rise to the problem of “secret debts” to countries across the Global South, and make it difficult for the West to calculate those countries’ debt sustainability.
Second, contracts offered by Chinese official creditors expressly commit borrowers to exclude the debt from restructuring in the Paris Club or any other multilateral restructuring, which hinders the implementation of the core principles of the Paris Club.
Third, Chinese contracts contain cross-default and cross-cancellation clauses, which tend to give China relational power over countries of the South and stronger influence over their domestic and foreign policies.
Fourth, Chinese loans to foreign countries require the maintenance of special accounts for the purpose of risk management, taking up the foreign exchange reserves of countries of the South and affecting the precision of Western analysis of those countries’ debt servicing ability.
Actually, the argumentation method and process of the report lack scientific basis, and its conclusions are untenable.
Problematic contract samples
The samples used in the report are seriously flawed. For example, the source of the contract samples is unclear, and the choices of samples and comparison methodology are subjective and biased. Therefore, the conclusions are hardly convincing.
The samples represent base evidence for the research and conclusion of the report, and the legality, authenticity and relevance of the source of evidence directly determine the neutrality, credibility and scientificity of the conclusions. While claiming all the contracts were obtained from open sources, the report accuses China of keeping sovereign loan contracts confidential and not transparent. The report does not explain a contradiction: How the researchers obtained their information if the contracts were confidential.
The report examined 100 sovereign debt contracts signed between 24 developing nations and China from 2000 to 2020, and compared them with 142 sovereign debt contracts signed by Cameroon between 1999 and 2017. The problem with this approach is the mismatch and lack of heterogeneity of the country chosen for comparison: Cameroon is only one country, and its financing needs and development structure are not sufficiently diverse and heterogeneous. Comparing a benchmark country with little variety and a group of 24 countries with great variety reduces the validity of the research conclusion.
Another problem of the report involves comparing 100 bilateral sovereign debt contracts of China with 142 multilateral and bilateral debt contracts of Cameroon. Of all the Chinese contracts, the 76 contracts signed by China Eximbank include preferential government loans, preferential buyer’s credit and buyer’s credit; the eight CDB contracts are in the category of development financial loans, which are basically commercial bank loans. In comparison, Cameroon’s contracts are mainly signed with multilateral development banks, with more favorable terms than the ones offered by China Eximbank.
Within the international development financing market, multilateral development banks, bilateral government aid agencies, development financial institutions and commercial banks are fundamentally different in their function, which is why government preferential loans, development loans and commercial loans constitute different types of loans, with different earning levels and means of risk prevention and control. The method used in the report, which is like comparing apples and oranges, makes the intent questionable.
A scientific and neutral research report would choose to compare the preferential loan contracts of China EximBank with similar contracts of government-backed institutions of preferential loans such as Agence française de développement (AFD), Japan International Cooperation Agency and KfW of Germany.
The failure of the report to provide equal numbers of similar bilateral sovereign loan contracts offered by Western countries reveals two things: First, the research method of the report is flawed, and the correlation between evidence and conclusion is insufficient. Second, the report seeks to make China the target for all while avoiding an assessment and judgement of bilateral lending institutions in the West.
On confidentiality clauses
According to the report, Chinese contracts contain “unusual” confidentiality clauses, which prohibit borrowers from disclosing clauses or the existence of debts. However, the principle of confidentiality is widely applied in international loan contracts, and the practice of not disclosing detailed information about the terms of loans is also quite common.
With few exceptions, creditors and sovereign debtors normally do not publish their contract texts in full. There is no uniform public disclosure standard or practice for bilateral official lenders. Even the authors of the report themselves admit “almost all OECD official creditors and non-OECD creditors have not publicly released their loan contracts.” Similar confidentiality clauses can be found in the official bilateral debt contracts of the AFD. The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Islamic Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development all require the borrower to keep the documents and letters of the lender confidential. Even the Asian Development Bank has confidentiality clauses in its loan agreements. Debtor governments usually would not publish the text of their loan contracts either.
The above-mentioned examples show that setting confidentiality clauses is a common practice for lenders, yet the report singles out China, which is either due to a lack of understanding of common commercial practices or out of ulterior motives. Besides, China is not an OECD member, nor a party to the OECD creditor reporting system, the OECD Export Credit Group (ECG) or the Paris Club. Thus, it has no obligation to disclose its loan information.
On ‘No Paris Club’ clauses
According to the report, close to three-quarters of the debt contracts in the Chinese samples contain the so-called “No Paris Club” clauses, which expressly commit the borrower to exclude the debt from restructuring in the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors and from any comparable debt treatment. The report maintains that such clauses are inconsistent with China’s position and attitude on signing the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments. Such a one-sided conclusion picks only opinions in their favor. Without proper framing of the argument, it takes the Western model of sovereign debt treatment as the best option for the international community, and attempts to obstruct the efforts of emerging creditor countries to build a new scheme for sovereign debt treatment.
By underscoring the issue of Paris Club clauses, the Western countries are actually attempting to bring China into their framework of debt rules, while taking a step back lowering lending limits, and, at the same time, “softly absorb” the potential influence of China’s foreign lending with their framework of rules, and share in the reputational benefits of China’s sovereign lending.
The principles of the Paris Club reflect merely the interests of Western creditor countries and are not recognized by other emerging creditor countries. Arrogantly asking others to observe the rules shows a lack of “basic courtesy”. Commercial and official bilateral creditors that are not party to the Paris Club have no obligation to abide by these principles.
Over recent years, the international development financing market has gone through big changes, and the size of lending of Paris Club countries has dropped. That said, the current global debt governance system is still dominated by the “Paris Club – IMF – World Bank” structure of the West. But, with its expanded scale of China’s sovereign loans and the lending practice with Chinese characteristics, a new order that is more friendly to developing countries is in the making.
By calling into question the “No Paris Club” clauses in Chinese contracts, the Western countries are interfering in the free choice and internal affairs of debtor countries, casting a hegemonic shadow on the cause of international development financing.
The signing of loan contracts containing “No Paris Club” clauses between debtor countries and China is entirely based on the principle of equality and mutual benefit. It is a choice made by the debtor countries for the best of their national interest. All countries should respect the right of other countries to make their own choice, instead of taking the rules of the Paris Club as universal norms that must be observed by all.
In regulating the sovereign debt market, the Western countries have not given full consideration to the development financing needs of developing countries. Even worse, they have set obstacles for developing countries to make their own choices, and sacrificed their development rights to protect the so-called “Paris Club standards”. This is putting the cart before the horse. To put it bluntly, politicians and scholars in some developed countries believe they should not lend to developing countries, and also deny these countries the chance to borrow elsewhere.
On special contract terms
According to the report, compared with their peers in the official credit market, Chinese lenders offer contracts containing more elaborate repayment safeguards as well as cross-default, cross-cancellation and stability clauses, which gives them an advantage over other creditors. This conclusion ignores the particular context of China’s outward lending. To achieve sustainable development, developing countries need to fill a huge infrastructure gap. Since the early 20th century, the Chinese government and state-owned banks have provided a large amount of infrastructure loans to low-and middle-income countries.
However, as infrastructure investment and financing often involve substantial capital and increased risk, meeting the financing needs of developing countries has been a thorny issue. To ensure the safety of their sovereign loans, Chinese creditors have included commonly-accepted clauses such as cross default and cross cancellation in the contracts.
CDB is in essence a commercial bank. Compared to China Eximbank, it has a stronger need to manage credit and liquidity risks through contract terms and make use of credit enhancement instruments when lending to high-risk borrowers. Nevertheless, the text used in China’s loan contracts is the one generally accepted by the market and the terms are consistent with the principles of fairness and balance of rights and obligations of parties concerned.
As the times change, China’s presence in the international sovereign lending has become more significant. The international community needs to foster an objective view of China’s overseas sovereign lending.
Taking the financing needs of receiving countries as the top priority, China does not hesitate to take risks that other lenders cannot or are unwilling to take. This requires Chinese financial institutions to improve risk control mechanisms.
Despite their dire need for financing in infrastructure and other fields, commercial loans to developing countries, especially infrastructure loans, have been limited for a long time. This has become a major challenge to the world economy. The main reason is that infrastructure investment and financing requires significant capital input and involve a longer payback period.
In the past two decades, China has provided a large amount of bilateral loans to developing countries through policy and commercial funds, giving them important financial support for growing the economy, creating jobs, improving infrastructure and promoting industrialization.
And, policy loans provided through the bilateral channel is not a Chinese invention. Major Western countries all have similar official development financing institutions. The only difference is that these institutions have been on a decline. On the surface, such a decline is a manifestation of the budget constraints facing Western governments, but fundamentally, it is the result of liberal market ideology that makes livelihood projects a more likely beneficiary of ODA.
As a result, infrastructure projects urgently needed by developing countries receive little attention: ODA providers are not capable of funding such projects, and commercial institutions also take no interest in them due to high risks. China’s financing cooperation with other developing countries goes beyond the binary aid model of “government vs. market” of the West. It not only helps fill the funding gap, but also revolutionizes the concept of financing cooperation.
In terms of risk management and control methods, China explores replacing traditional means of ex-post dispute resolution with preventive measures taken before lending is provided. Such an approach encourages the debtor countries to become “responsible” borrowers in the process of development financing and increase their efforts toward sustainable development.
China’s financing model, combining policy-based funds with commercial funds, represents the future of development financing. In recent years, new types of mixed loans with official and commercial institutions as joint lenders have increased in the global financing market.
That said, when providing development financing to developing countries, it is important to control and reduce investment risks and ensure security of capital. Therefore, China tries to replace traditional means of dispute resolution with contract tools that prevent default in sovereign loans. Combining the practices of commercial banks and official institutions, Chinese contracts aim to secure maximum repayment by adjusting the standard contract tools, including setting up a revenue account based on the proceeds of the project to provide additional funding for debt repayment and relieve the pressure on government budget.
It is a legitimate measure to ensure the capital safety of lenders and a commonly-accepted commercial practice. It is also a practice adopted by some OECD official creditors – as pointed out in the report, 7 percent of OECD official creditors sampled use repayment security devices.
Arrangements such as default clauses, to some extent, constrain the debtors to fulfill their obligations, which is the very purpose of signing a contract. It urges debtor countries to properly manage their debt and fulfill repayment responsibilities, and become “responsible” borrowers with international credibility, while enjoying convenient access to loan concessions. This helps to enhance the countries’ reputation in the international development financing market and ultimately contributes to their economic and social sustainability.
The authors are from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.
The National Anti-corruption Commission, CONAC, has execrated the very low implementation rate of the Regional Anti-Corruption Action Plans which has been varying between 25.91% and 36.71 since the year of its first implementation in 2012 leading to financial losses from government coffers.
The information is contained in Cameroon’s 2019 Anti-Corruption Status Report, published Thursday December 17, in Yaounde. Being the 10th of its kind, the report presents both public, private and parastatal sectors and administrations and regions wherein the scourge of corruption still stands still.
The anti-corruption report provides damages caused and uncovered by the inquiry commission for last year. “For the year 2019, the damages assessed by the National Anti-corruption Commission at the end of the Missions of Inquiry, Control and Investigation on the field amount to the sum of 10,270,732,750 (ten billion two hundred and seventy million seven hundred and thirty-two thousand seven hundred and fifty.”
“On the whole, we deplore the constantly low implementation rate of Regional Anti-Corruption Action Plans. Indeed, this rate has been varying between 25.91% and 36.71, from 2012, the year of their first implementation,” lamented Dieudonne Massi Gams, Chairman of the National Anti-corruption Commission.
In its 2019 report on corruption in Cameroon, the commission presented an analysis of 4,482 calls issued by users to denounce corruption practices, out of 17, 350 calls recorded. Thus, most of these recorded came from the Centre and Littoral regions respectively. CONAC’s evaluation ranked the North region first and Adamawa last with an anti-corruption implementation rate of 51.28% and 27.68% respectively.
Also, that the Ministry of Finance and its institutions are the most corrupt. Indeed, the general treasury’s users report the requirement of kickbacks for payments, otherwise known as percentages, while for the tax directorate, the report bewails fanciful taxes. As for the customs directorate, the report denounces the clearing processes and agents’ corrupt practices.
With the Ministry of land affairs, users reported various corrupt practices in processing administrative files including pension applications. In addition, some users claimed that lands are sold to two persons or bribes are paid to municipal officials for the establishment of land certificates. However, the report also denounces law enforcement agencies and transport operators as well as utility companies.
Likewise, administrations have been ranked by the following the number of calls recorded by its agents. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Land Affairs, Police and Gendarmerie, councils, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Secondary Education, Ministry of public health, Ministry of Wildlife, Ministry of Social Affairs while others include the Ministries of Higher Education and Culture, ENEO, and Camwater.
Two missions were deployed as a means to further investigations with regard to the payment of court dues at the Douala and Nkongsamba General Treasury and as well as the payment of compensation benefits to former workers of the Cameroon Shipyard and Industrial Engineering Ltd, CNIC. Result from the inquiry revealed that, the Cameroon has suffered a financial loss FCFA 10,270, 732,750 as a result of irregularities observed by the said missions.
However, the anti-corruption commission begged for an extension throughout the National territory, with the creation of regional bureaus so as to enhance the degree of denonciations, thereby heightening the fight against corruption in Cameroon. “Similarly, we recommend that all stakeholders in the fight against corruption should be provided with the necessary resources for a more effective solution to the ever-increasing demands imposed on them by corruption victims,” the commission stressed.
Created via a decree issued in 2006, CONAC helps fight corruption in Cameroon. The institution indicates that within 10 years of operation, it helped save XAF1,652 billion adding that the performances would have been higher if it had coercive force.
Cameroon’s Ministry of Livestock, Fishery and Animal Industry, MINEPIA, has urged operators of the poultry sector to temporarily suspend the imports of poultry products from infected countries.
The Information was contained in a note issued by the Minister of Livestock, Fishery and Animal Industry, Dr. Taiga, addressing the President of the Poultry Industry, Francois Djonou, Yesterday, November 09, 2020.
“I have the honor to ask you to inform operators of poultry sector to temporarily suspend the imports of day-old chicks, hatching eggs and other poultry products from infected countries,” read a part of the communiqué.
This call was made after the recent outbreaks of “highly pathogenic avian influenza in Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Russia and Israel,” which are all countries in which Cameroon import its poultry products. This is in a bid to avoid an avian flu epizootic, as it was the case in 2016 and 2017
Going by Dr. Taiga, this measure is aimed at preventing the introduction of the disease into the national territory via importations.
Besides, MINEPIA equally sent a correspondence to the veterinary and animal production sector to “strengthen borders surveillance and rigorously enforce veterinary sanitary inspection measures in accordance with the decision of 25 July 2006 banning the import of certain species to ‘avian influenza’ and certain propagating resources.”
However, Minister Taiga equally required that the daily activities in the various sectors should be reported weekly and sent to him.
AccuraCast, an international digital marketing agency has aligned some 10 predictions on the eventual change in payments industry given the way consumers view payment options within the pandemic.
The predictions are highlighted in a press release titled "10 predictions for payments in 2030 - how the payments industry will change," issued Monday April 26, by CCV Switzerland. CCV is the leading independent provider of payment infrastructures such as payment terminals, cash registers, customer loyalty and purchasing card systems in Switzerland.
According to Fabio Carvalho, digital marketing specialist at CCV Switzerland, “the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumers view payment options. In particular, it has forced consumers to overcome their inertia, and has created an unprecedented global appetite for changes in the way we pay, as businesses adapt to make payment transactions fast and secure for customers and employees.”
Going by a study realised by Visa’s Back to Business, 78% of global consumers have adjusted the way they pay as a result of the pandemic. Thus, the study further predicts that, “by 2023, five countries will have launched digitisation initiatives to eliminate cash. By 2024, global cash in circulation will be reduced for the first time after decades of continuous increase and mobile proximity payment users will double to nearly 2 billion worldwide, from less than 1 billion in 2019.”
In the same vein, in the decade to 2030, the pace of transformation in the payments industry is expected to accelerate. Non-traditional players will continue to enter the market, from global technology giants to car manufacturers and consumer goods companies, introducing new payment innovations.
Here are 10 predictions on what will happen to payments by 2030
Nation states will launch their own digital currencies to maintain control over economic policy. The growth of digital currencies has worrying implications for sovereign states and central banks, which risk losing sight of the financial flows through their economies. As such, expect more countries to follow China’s lead in launching a state-controlled digital currency; for example, last October the Bahamas launched the Sand Dollar. Each country that does so will assert the supremacy of its digital currency over non-sovereign alternatives, but will also be competing with the currencies of other countries.
Regulators will control payment processes rather than providers. With so many new players emerging in payments, including many outside banking and even financial services, today’s regulatory systems, built around oversight of the activities of individual institutions, are increasingly inadequate. Instead, a new multinational approach to regulation, through which national regulators control payment processes rather than individual providers, will emerge.
The payments value chain will be data-driven. In a new world of open banking and APIs, the greatest exchange of value will take place in transactional data rather than in the transactions themselves. This data will open up a wide variety of new opportunities, from fighting fraud to sophisticated financial planning for consumers, with businesses benefiting too.
We will reach an international consensus on data privacy. Fundamentally, data has the potential to transform the payments industry value chain. However, to achieve these goals, it will be crucial to establish greater international consistency in data protection and privacy laws. Debates about what standards should be applied globally, who should control the data and how the rules are enforced will need to be conducted in the broader context of the debate around protectionism and free trade, particularly given the power of the technology giants in the US and China.
Almost all citizens of the world will have their own biometric digital identification. The inconsistent application of digital identity today means that in some countries people can transact freely and easily, while in others, where it is more difficult to verify identities and assets, there is much more friction in the payment system. These barriers will diminish as nation states and payment providers work together to establish internationally recognised digital identity standards, increasingly leveraging biometrics, including facial recognition, fingerprints and implants.
Payments technology will reduce financial exclusion. Developed economies will learn from the success of mobile channels in many emerging markets, reducing financial exclusion. For those currently struggling to access payments and financial services more widely, a digital identity will be a golden key, unlocking services from payment to banking, and enabling them to establish credit histories, sometimes for the first time.
The social experience will converge with payment technology. The convergence of social media and payment services, already well established in China, will spread internationally. This will create new opportunities for payment service providers and their customers – for example, to enable merchants to engage with individual consumers on a large scale via such networks.
The technologies will support a globally connected high-speed payment network. Distributed ledger technologies have the potential to be the primary means by which we build the payment system of the future. Cloud computing and API tools will link block chains to create high-speed cross-border networks: an “internet of value” through which payments flow unimpeded, just as information now flows on the World Wide Web.
Real-time payments will become the norm, even for cross-border transactions. As blockchains dissolve the boundaries between national systems, payments will be instantaneous, even when they are cross-border.
Payment ecosystems will evolve as new entrants and established companies collaborate. In the highly regulated financial services market, where payments are a potential source of systemic risk, new entrants will need – and want – to work alongside banking partners. Together, these organisations will create new payment ecosystems. The experience of emerging markets where new entrants have come together with incumbent providers and regulators to create new payment systems from scratch will be replicated on a global scale; without such collaboration, transformation will not be possible.
In the meantime, Fabio Carvalho called on application managers to protect business continuity and align with changing customer payment expectations. This is to prepare for the changes ahead. Therefore, digital trade payment technology managers should protect or improve their sales volumes by optimising their digital trade channel and unified trade initiatives. They should equally provide consumers with ways to shop and pay contactless in the physical shop.
Recalibrate the effectiveness of commercial monitoring in this new payment system, continuously evaluating and modifying key performance indicators and metrics will be key come 2030.
He also called them to measure the resilience of their payment offerings by evaluating the offering of their commercial payment provider(s) and increase the resilience of their organisation by leveraging payment provider initiatives designed to help them adapt to the current and emerging environment.
About 720 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises have been selected to benefit from a state subsidy under the COVID-19 solidarity fund in a bid to revive Cameroon’s economy.
The announcement was made during press breifing issued by the Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Achille Bassilekine III on November 24 during the launching of the world week of Entrepreneurship in Yaounde, capital city.
Minister Achille Bassilekine III specified that the lists of the companies definitely retained on the extent of the territory were transmitted to the Ministry of Finance for authorization and payment by bank transfer.
To this effect, 720 companies to benefit from the government subsidy have been selected out of 1171 that submitted their files. Besides, 291 files were selected out of 557 files of SMEs that applied for government assistance while 429 files were selected amongst the 614 files of craftsmen and promoters of the social economy manufacturing mask and hand sanitizers.
The Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises therefore received an envelope of FCFA 2 billion under the COVID-19 solidarity fund for the country’s economic recovery. 1.5 million from this envelope will cover the damages caused by the Pandemic, while 500 million will serve in support of craftsmen and social economic actors.
Applications to benefit from, from this state aid was launched on October 05 by the Ministries of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Social Economy and Handicrafts acting in support of local production and for the benefit of companies that had suffered the dammage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditional chiefs in Gabon, Central African country will henceforth receive a dedicated envelope come 2021 according to the budget forecasts of the Ministry of Interior currently under consideration at the National Assembly.
The move comes the elected President of the Rally for the Restoration of Values, RV group at the National Assembly recalled that, these command auxiliaries had not received their emoluments for a year and counting.
With respect to the payment of emoluments of traditional chiefs, the Gabonese Minister of Interior eventually submitted to the members of parliament of finance, budget and public accounts committee for consideration.
Thus, the 2021 envelope going by Lambert Noel Matha is indeed requesting FCFA 28.6 billion against FCFA 25.4 billion in 2020. This according to Gabon Review will finance the collection of household waste, but, the payment of the emoluments of command auxiliaries. Also, FCFA 18.4 billion will be allotted to local communities as averred by Lambert Noel whose project was particularly well received by elected officials.
According to Jerome Pazok Mayele, Deputy sole seat of Makokou, the estimated increase of more than FCFA three billion in the budget devoted to the administration of the territories comes at the appropriate moment given the crisis at hand. To him, the payment of salary of traditional chiefs has always recorded delays which often lead parliamentarians and senators and even Ministers to come to their aid.
“We, parliamentarians are often obliged to replace the state,” lamented the Representative of the province of Ogooué-Ivindo. On this note, he indicated that the public health plan will obtain an envelope worth FCFA 7.2 billion against 6.8 billion in 2020, thus, marking a rise of FCFA 400 million.
In this wise, the decision to pay traditional chiefs’ salary comes after several traditional rulers expressed their discontent over their unpaid dues and also in view of the delay recorded in the payment process.
The Minister of Post and Telecommunication, MINPOSTEL, Minette Libom Li Likeng, has declared that the year 2020 marks the end of administrative tolerance on the part of stakeholders clandestinely operating in the postal service in Cameroon amidst the regularisation of the sector back in 2006.
She was speaking during the solemn ceremony to hand over operating licences to 14 newly authorised postal operators of the private postal courier services. The ceremony took place on December 28, 2020, at the conference hall of the said ministry in Yaounde.
According to the Minister, “for those who are still behind the line, there was an administrative tolerance and 2020 is the end of this administrative tolerance. We are going to close, we are going to take to court if they go on working without following the law because those 25 who have paid their duties should be protected, need to develop their activities, so that it would be a win-win partnership.”
Going by her words, there is need to recognise the commitment of those who willfully accepted to be citizen operators of the postal service because since 2006 that the postal sector was liberalised, all stakeholders worked in the informal sector. To this effect, there would be a zero tolerance come 2021 reason being that, the first ever licences were delivered on December 2019 to some 11 postal enterprises authorising the exploitation of the postal sector.
Thus, following the campaign to sensitise various actors on the importance to quit the clandestine way as 14 others joined the move, taking the total number of authorised companies to operate in the postal service in Cameroon to 25. In this wise, “the liberalization of the postal sector in Cameroon, enshrined in Law No. 2006/019 of 29 December 2006 governing postal activity in Cameroon, has led to the entry of private operators, whose activities are increasingly developing with an expansion over time of the size of the national postal market.”
Asked if what will change in the operating system of authorised enterprises, the Minister said, “what changes for them is that they are henceforth official partners of MINPOSTEL with respect to the development of the postal sector which is called upon to be an important sector. With the advent of digital economy where there is e-commerce, this sector is called to deliver mails in remote areas and in big cities.”
“You have entered a sector of activity that faces major challenges. The aim here is to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding clientele and consumers, particularly in terms of quality of service and value-added services. In order to meet them, it is imperative to adapt to the technological changes of the day. I therefore urge you to take advantage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to not only strengthen your service offering, but also to propose innovative offers which will improve the day-to-day operation of your sector of activity,” said Minette Libom Li Likeng to newly authorised postal companies.
In addition, the State, which at the same time ensures the regulation of this sector, and does not control the postal environment, was experiencing difficulties in the development and implementation of a real policy conducive to the development of the sector. This, despite a regulatory framework defining the framework and conditions for the exercise of postal activities by the private sector.
In fact, this regulatory framework specifies that courier companies, that is,. those responsible for sending, transporting and distributing letters and parcels, money transfer companies, as well as digital/e-commerce postal operators are postal operators and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the Administration in charge of Posts in Cameroon, which ensures their supervision in collaboration with other competent administrations.
In order to put an end to the disordered situation that characterised the national postal market, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has been engaged since 2019 in a programme to clean up this market.
In a bid to ensure that all operators take on board the regulatory provisions and strictly comply with legality, this programme, which started in its first phase with awareness raising campaigns and impregnation seminars carried out throughout the national territory, missions to record infringements and formal notices.
The second phase was devoted to the collection of the duties owed by private operators to the State, in respect of the exercise of postal activity, in application of the regulatory provisions. The delivery of the installation and operation authorization is subject to the satisfaction of all the conditions required by law, including the payment of entry fees.
Therefore, Minette Libom Li Likeng reiterated the support of her ministerial department to all 25 authorised private postal enterprises as they will eventually work hand-in-hand with the state owned postal company to enhance the development of the sector in Cameroon.
The Douala Grand Mall which is also the largest shopping center in Central Africa Opened its doors on November 17, 2020 near the Douala International Airport in Cameroon's economic capital.
The Largest shopping mall in Central Africa, welcomed more than 10,000 visitors during its inauguration , presenting a variety of products in which 70% are products made in Cameroon, thanks to the contributions of several local suppliers.
The Carrefour Supermarket was the locomotive of the shopping center as it kicked off the opening of the Mall's stores. the remaining stores and restaurants will gradually open, over time. These include; the Genesis cinema multiplex(with a total of 1000 seats), banking, insurance and telecommunications companies, opticians, restaurants, a children's playground, car wash, and many others.
However, the official inauguration of this commercial space is scheduled before the end-of-year celebrations.
The Douala Grand Mall is a commercial center covering 18,500 m² with the capacity of carring 160 stores and boutiques, 22 restaurants as well as a cinema on of rental space. An investment of more than 80 billion FCFA in total which is the result of a cooperation between Cameroon and Great Britain, according to Business Cameroon.
Before the Inauguration, managers of this project gave a press briefing in Douala, in a bid to present the origins of the Douala Grand Mall that has been underway since 2017. Besides, it should be noted that, the Cameroonian Engineer, Mathurin Kamdem is the brain behind ths project. He conceptualized the idea and acquired investors.
However, over 4,500 jobs are expected to be created under the Douala Grand Mall.
The government of Cameroon intends to lower corporate taxes by 25% in a bid to enterprises go public, with law in the framework of the 2021 finance law relating to the promotion of the stock market sector.
Going by government’s draft text, companies that proceed to the admission of their ordinary shares to the listing of the Central African Security Exchange, BVMAC, will benefit from the application of deducted tax rates.
Thus, they will benefit from a reduced rate of corporation tax of 25% as well as a reduction rate of 15% of the deposit and the minimum collection of corporate tax. The enterprises that issue securities on BVMAC bond market are on the same list with other beneficiaries.
Likewise, corporates deemed to make public offerings in accordance with the provisions of the OHADA Uniform Act, relating to commercial companies and economic interest groups, and which agree to admit and exchange all or part of their equity and debt securities listed on the BVMAC, will benefit from the 25% reduction from the date of admission of the securities as reported by Investir au Cameroun.
The BVMAC posted a capitalization of FCFA 149.5 billion meant for four companies in the CEMAC sub-region back in July 31, 2020. However, some Cameroonians companies that are still reluctant to go public; SEMC, SOCAPALM, SOFACAM, and SIAT.
Therefore, with respect to equities, the capitalization of BVMAC reached around 1% of Cameroon’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, while those of stock exchanges in Nigeria and West Africa reached 10% respectively, with 26% of the GDP of the West African countries concerned in 2018 according to Investir au Cameroun.