According to the National Institute of Statistics, (NIS) the country’s trade deficit stands at FCFA 1438.3 billion in 2018, an increase by 22.8 per cent compared to 2017.
In relation to a report published on Cameroon’s Foreign Trade in 2018 by the National Institute of Statistics on April 10, 2019, the gap between the country’s imports and exports continued to widen in 2018. Trade deficit extended to FCFA 1,438.3 billion, recording an increase of FCFA 265.9 billion compared to the previous year. Going by the NIS, the broadened deficit is linked to a year-on-year increase by 11.5 per cent in import spending, added to a minor hike by 4.5 per cent in export revenues. In compliance with the report, import expenditure increased by 11.5 per cent compared to the previous year. On this aspect, foreign trade amounted to 1,966.9 per cent, an increase of FCFA 85 billion compared to 2017. “The growth on imports is mainly attributed to fuels and lubricants whose bill in 2018 was FCFA 473.4 billion against FCFA 251.9 billion in 2017. These imports were made by the National Refining Company, SONARA to supply the local market because of technical shutdown observed between the months of April and November 2018” explains the report. Excluding oil, Cameroon’s trade deficit is more distinct at FCFA 2127.8 billion, which reflects an increase by FCFA 422.2 billion (+24.8 per cent) compared to 2017. “This rise in the non-oil deficit is linked to a 3.0 per cent decline in non-oil exports, followed by a 13.7 per cent increase in non-oil imports”. The main products imported by Cameroon last year are; hydrocarbons, (21.6 per cent), products of the chemical industry (12.5 per cent), pharmaceuticals (3.9 per cent), machinery and mechanical or electrical appliances (15 per cent) cereals (7.9 per cent), fish and shellfish (4.6 per cent). Cameroon’s imports come from about 189 countries with top provider being China with 18.5 per cent followed by France (8.3 per cent), Nigeria (5.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (4.8 per cent). Meanwhile in 2018, Cameroonian products were exported to about 127 countries. However, the top ten customers accounted for almost 77.5 per cent of Cameroon’s exports.