The exchanges of 4 November 2022, between H. E. Thierry Marchand, the new French Ambassador to Cameroon and H.E. Achille Basilekin III, Minister of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts, were held within the framework of the densification of bilateral relations between France and Cameroon. In this respect, during “this transitional meeting, the two personalities exchanged “on subjects for which I think we can go further in the partnership and cooperation’’, said the Ambassador. These included “the field of the Digital Economy where there is much to be done to stimulate real wealth and creativity”, he noted. According to H. E. Thierry Marchand, the aim of this is “to organise all these intelligence incubators to transform them into business”. The Ambassador also insisted on fundamental areas such as “the Agricultural Sector, new productions in the Timber Sector, other economic sectors in which SMEs will be the key to the success of the Cameroonian Economy of tomorrow.”

 During the audience, discussions also focused on access to financing available within the framework of cooperation with France, as well as partnerships between the entrepreneurial ecosystems of the two Countries.

It should already be noted that the Support Programme for Small and Medium-sized Agricultural and Agri-food Enterprises (PMEAA), implemented with the financial support of the French Development Agency (AFD), aims at capturinge the enterprise” dimension of production units in rural areas. These are known for their vulnerability and fragility, by ensuring that their main functions of production (of goods and services), marketing and management are adequately fulfilled to enable them to participate more actively in the economic growth of Cameroon.

Cameroon also intends to capitalise on the experience of the French Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy in order to provide technical (structuring, capacity building and transfer of know-how) and financial support to players in this sector in Cameroon. Our Country also intends to draw inspiration from the Chamber of Commerce and Handicrafts of France for the promotion and support of the Handicraft Industry in Cameroon.

Moreover, two major axes should structure the future relationship between the two Countries in the SMESEH Sector, notably the establishment of a platform for exchanges and sharing of experiences between Cameroonian SMEs and French Companies/Investors; and the development of a programme to support the business incubation sector in Cameroon. This suggested framework “will allow for the effective activation of extremely important wealth generators levers”, concluded the Ambassador.

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