Nigerian online newspaper Businessday reports that former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is inaugurating a 1.15km bridge to boost trade with CEMAC countries, including Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, on 16 January. It is the longest bridge ever built by the central government of Nigeria.
The structure, we learn, built in Akwa Ibom State, will thus impact on residents of the region, as they will be able to carry their goods, especially seafood, to the CEMAC countries. In return, Cameroonians, Gabonese and Equatorial Guineans will be able to easily obtain supplies from Nigeria thanks to this inter-capital structure.
The commissioning of this bridge and the projected boost to economic activity in the CEMAC zone are consistent with the view of some economic actors who believe that instead of seeking to trade primarily with the European Union (EU), it would be beneficial to boost trade with neighbouring Nigeria, which shares borders with virtually every country in the sub-region.
In 2017, for example, the Cameroon Employers' Association proposed to the ministry of trade to examine 'the need to have an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Nigeria'. This could allow the lifting of customs barriers as is already the case, to some extent, with the European Union since August 2016. Moreover, Gicam says, trade between Nigeria and Cameroon, or even with CEMAC, could move from the informal to a formal framework.
In May 2016, Paul Kammogne Fokam, the 2nd richest man in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, according to Forbes magazine, had already suggested to the Cameroonian government to strengthen economic cooperation with Nigeria through a formal EPA. He believes that a country like Cameroon would benefit from trading with Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa (over 150 million inhabitants) with which it shares a borderline of about 1,500 km.
Source: Business in Cameroon
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