Cameroon occupies a key position between the Atlantic and the landlocked countries of central Africa (Chad, Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville). It has a surface area of 466 050 square km and a population of 16 million, with annual demographic growth of 2.3%. The country’s economy is made up of primary (agriculture, fishing and forestry), secondary (petroleum, industry, water and electricity) and tertiary (communications and transport) sectors.
Its main advantages are its geographical location at the centre of the continent, the diversity of its terrain and climate, its agricultural and mineral wealth, its bicultural heritage and well-educated senior management.
The challenges: Improvement of governance, in particular financial governance, the fight against corruption, decentralisation, and reinvigorating the private sector, which is the engine of growth. Agricultural productivity is poor and business competitiveness is restricted by high factor costs and problems in the business environment.
Within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF 2008-2013) a total of €239 million has been allocated to the following two priority areas: governance, (€35-45 million) for measures in the areas of justice, public finances, forestry resources and elections; and business and regional integration, improving competitiveness through strengthening production and export capacity and road infrastructure to support the economic and social sectors.Programmes are now under implementation.
Political dialogue- the EU and Cameroon hold biannual political discussions within the framework of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. The issues of good governance and strengthening the rule of law form the basis of these exchanges with the Cameroon government.
EPA: Cameroon and the EU signed an interim agreement on 15 January 2009. The agreement provides for the lifting of trade barriers on 50% of EU imports over 10 years and 80% over 15 years. It covers all sectors. Exclusion clauses were introduced, in particular for nascent industries. Excluded products comprise mostly agricultural and processed foods products.A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the Forestry Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process