Cameroon’s Investment Promotion Agency (API) recently signed an agreement with the construction company CCMM, making it eligible for the tax and customs incentives provided by the 2013 law on private investment in the country.
The agreement was signed in the framework of CCMM’s project for the construction of a bus assembly plant in Douala.
According to its promoters, the project will cost XAF6 billion. It will enable the company, which already builds various lorry bodies in Douala, to create about 400 new direct and indirect jobs.
This project will provide Cameroon with its second bus assembly plant after the one set up by Sotrabus, a company set up in 2015 by Cameroonian polytechnician Albert Mbafe Konkou.
However, there are reasons to believe that CCMM’s project could experience a shortage of qualified labor force.
“Currently, few people are trained in automobile manufacturing. For the time being, most of our employees are recruited from West Africa,” revealed David Nchenouossi, administrative director at Sotrabus, in an interview granted to Défis Actuels, in 2021.
In May 2019, Gaspard Mpondo, a former math teacher and entrepreneur based in France, quietly launched his company Jengu Sarl in Douala. This company specializes in the assembly of solar-powered motorcycles and three-wheelers. In partnership with Chinese operators, the entrepreneur hopes it will be able to build a vehicle assembly plant in his native country.
Chinese projects are still in the closet…
Two other projects aimed at building vehicle and machinery assembly plants in the country have been in the closet since 2015.
Indeed, on June 11, 2015, the government signed an investment agreement with the Chinese-Cameroonian joint venture company Cameroon Automotive Holding for the construction of two vehicle assembly units in Douala (Littoral) and Kribi (South).
From April 20 to 26, 2017, at theYaoundé Multipurpose Sports Complex, the said consortium exhibited 20 ranges of cars (sedans, vans, minibusses, offroaders, and tractors) straight from China, in the framework of the China-Cameroon Auto Show. This exhibition, according to its organizers, was aimed at making Cameroonians (both authorities and the population) discover and test Chinese car models that were to soon be assembled locally.
Five years later, the Cameroon Automotive Holding project is still not in its implementation stage, even though it was granted the incentives provided by the 2013 law on private investments in the Republic of Cameroon.
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