Though widely considered as the most difficult month of the year, January in Cameroon is often characterised by several ceremonies with attendant effects on business.
The festive season might have been over but celebrations continue in various spheres. In Yaounde, the seat of institutions, the month of January is usually pregnant with merrymakings as “New Year wishes ceremonies are littered here and there. Being the capital city hosting government departments, public corporations, para-public establishments and a myriad of private enterprises, the business climate in the city remains buoyant in January, though generally considered as a difficult month by households. This is because different institutions organise various ceremonies such as New Year wishes, Annual General Assembly, award of distinctions (medals) graduations, awards of diplomas or certificates amongst others. On the other hand, the start of the year is also the period most enterprises and institutions activate their marketing and Public Relations strategies with the printing and distribution of some company gadgets such as dairies, calendars, and notepads amongst others. All of these provides business opportunities for some other Small and medium-sized enterprises such as restaurants and catering services, hotels, conference halls, flower merchants and printing presses amongst others. Consequently, these service providers make brisk cash during the month of January and beyond as the over 35 government ministries, State corporations, the two houses of parliament and other entities organise New Year wishes ceremonies, award of medals, annual general assemblies amongst others. Such ceremonies go with merrymaking with buffets prepared and assorted drinks purchased. A member of a logistic committee in one of the ministries who preferred ano nymity said as much as FCFA 2 million is spent on catering and decoration services during such events in their Ministry. During such events, each department in a ministry presents a bouquet of flower to the Minister for example and in the case of award of medals, flower bouquets are presented to the recipients by family relatives, friends and colleagues. The same ministries, public and private enterprises also print large quantities of materials such as diaries, calendars giving huge sums of money to printers. According to William Ngole, senior staff with a local printing outfit in Yaounde, the business begins towards the end of the year but spills over to the New Year for latecomers. Printing of calendars and diaries, he said, is lucrative depending on how many clients they have and the quantity produced.