(Business in Cameroon) – Cameroonian Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana and the Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), Jean Marc Anga, signed an agreement on February 17, 2014 to finance the feasibility study on the creation of an agricultural commodities exchange in Cameroon.
According to the agreement between the ICCO and the Cameroonian government, the project which is “a major first in French-speaking Africa,” in the words of Minister Mbarga Atangana, will cost 50 million FCfa for 6 months. The study is to be conducted by the Eleni LLC which already put in place Addis Abeba’s commodities exchange in Ethiopia, has been referred to as “a leader in this field” by the Cameroonian Minister of Trade who added that the entity “has had transactions involving 608,000 tonnes in 2011-2012 and deals that went from 12 billion in 2008 to 750 billion FCfa in 2011.”
The Cameroon Commodities Exchange, of which the feasibility study has just started, will enable “the modernisation of the sale of agricultural commodities’ through market and pricing transparency as well as the lowering of costs” which will all contribute to improving the producers’ revenue.
According to Jean Marc Anga, the sales’ systems in place for commodities in the four top cocoa producing countries in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon), for example, are “inefficient and frequently involve individual sales which leave producers to the mercy of unscrupulous, lawless buyers.” The creation of a commodities exchange will be an excellent way to overcome these constraints.
This is why the ICCO’s executive director wants the Cameroon Commodities Exchange, this accomplishment of the strategic vision of the government of Cameroon” to be operational “in a year”. But to do this, numerous institutional and infrastructural constraints will have to be removed.
The head of operations at Eleni LLC indicated on February 14, 2014 in Yaoundé that the creation of a commodities exchange depended heavily on the improvement of roads in production areas, electronic communication systems, payment systems and energy supply, not to mention increasing production and improving product quality.