A Promising Economic Partnership: The Increasing Development of Cameroon's Economic Relations with the Middle East Could See a Number of Partnerships Being Formed with the Region

Article excerpt

Thanks to a long-established stable diplomatic relationship with the Middle East, Cameroon has developed economic and trade ties with many countries in that region. Specifically, Saudi Arabia is a leading country which has supported the Cameroonian economy either directly through development loans, or through international institutions in multilateral cooperation projects, and Islamic banks.

With regard to investment in infrastructure, Saudi Arabia has participated in the financing of several projects in Cameroon including the hydroelectric dam at Song Loulou; the realignment of the Douala-Yaounde railway (the Eseka-Maloume section); the Corporation for the Development of Wheat Cultivation; the Conti-Guida Road; the College of Commerce in Douala; the University at N'Gaoundere; and the Ayos-Bonis road.

Bilateral exchanges

Commercially, the trade between the two countries "with the absence of direct lines of shipping to connect the two regions, has not reached its full potential'; says the Saudi representative in Yaounde. However, bilateral trade runs at some $250m with exports from Saudi Arabia largely consisting of finished manufactured goods; food products; vehicles and spare parts; and fabrics and home furnishings. Cameroon's major exports to Saudi Arabia are mainly agricultural products such as pineapples, mangos and bananas, as well as forestry products (timber). In terms of overall trade, Cameroon buys more than it sells to Saudi Arabia not only because of the structural difficulties of the Cameroonian economy, which make its manufactured products uncompetitive in export markets such as the Middle East, but also because of the great craft traditions of Middle Eastern countries.

Some countries, like Iran and Syria, organise annual trade fairs in their own countries and overseas. …