About sixty entrepreneurs from the Wouri division organised a trade fair for SMEs under the leadership of the local delegation of the Ministry of Small and Medium-size Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts. For three days, starting from 13 October at Parcours Vita in Douala, they presented their products while discussing the challenges of the import substitution policy. At the end of this first meeting, these SMEs "saw the need to industrialise their production. Given our respective sizes, we plan to pool our production resources for better yields. The lessons on taxation also did us a lot of good," said Emmanuel Moluh Kouotou, president of the Association of SME Promoters of Wouri (ASPME).


A cause for satisfaction for Minpmeesa's delegate, Sylvie Solange Mache Mewiue. The government's representative mentioned that the exhibition came about as a result of the current situation: the health and security crises disrupting the world economy and causing unprecedented inflation.


However, it will continue as a way of responding to the general rise in prices and the problems of households. "We want our SMEs to regenerate," said Mrs Mache. She added that craftsmen were hoping for an SME exchange and the continuation of the event.


In the aisles of the exhibition-sale area, some SME bosses also shared the idea that the reaction must be planned and endogenous. Françoise Essombe, promoter of KMC, a food processing company, advocated for the use of local know-how: "We no longer need to import everything. We have local engineers and I have one in my team as an expert. They can build machines to suit the context and the conditions of use. There are machines that we buy that have to run 24 hours a day, which is not very realistic for us. The disadvantage of imported machines is the absence of after-sales services. If you have a breakdown, who do you turn to? This opinion is shared by a well-informed visitor for whom the packaging deserves more attention. "Despite the constraints, your product has to be presentable. This bottle of Biumla wine, for example, is quite presentable, but it could also have been accompanied by a package bearing its name instead of an already used plastic packaging. It is increasingly possible to substitute our packaging by importing tools that allow us to manufacture them locally," says Christian Sandjo, a tax and accounting consultant.


Source: Business in Cameroon, No. 282

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