On 03 November 2022, the Minister of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts Achille BASSILEKIN III welcomed the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Cameroon, H.E. Ignacio Rafael Garcia LUMBRERAS, with a warm handshake. This first meeting between the two officials is in line with the revitalisation of bilateral relations between the two countries. In fact, “the opportunities for both countries in terms of collaboration are tremendous”, stated the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain. He continued by declaring that “our two countries have an important economic network of small and medium-sized enterprises and therefore should jointly invest in the promotion of handicrafts, social economy and SMEs”.
In the domain of SMEs, Cameroon could, for example, capitalise on Spanish expertise in the agri-food sector, “a sector of primary importance for both countries, whose structuring in terms of cooperation will be organised as soon as possible through a webinar that will involve as many actors as possible, working in various sectors of activity.”, the Ambassador announced.
“Spain is a leading country in the economic partnership agreement signed with the European Union and indeed has a great potential in terms of the development of SMEs, important sectors such as agro-industry, wood processing, leather processing and textiles,” the Minister of SMEs indicated before adding that he “is convinced that there is a priori a great potential that will be enhanced. This will be achieved through “joint ventures, subcontracting activities, economic missions enabling Spanish investments to thrive in Cameroon, especially in sectors at the heart of the NDS30”, said the Minister of SMESEH.
Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III recalled that, beyond SMEs, Spain is a model to emulate “in terms of the development of Social and Solidarity Economy with its autonomous network and its considerable experience in decentralisation”, He continued by stating that, “There is a need to capitalise experience on developing regional, local and municipal networks of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE)”. For the benefit of Social Economy promoters, Cameroon could consider a benchmarking and retraining mission at the Andalusian School, as well as within the MONDRAGON Corporation, which federates a cooperative network of 80,000 people. These advantages could extend to the domains of training and development, innovation and international cooperation.
In terms of handicrafts, the Minister for SMEs stated that, “Spain is endowed with a rich handicraft treasure, a thousand years of historical know-how, particularly in leather, ceramics and textiles processing”. The participation of Cameroonian craftspeople in Spanish fairs of international importance, particularly the Valence International Fair for Textiles and Interior Design, and the Ibero-American Handicrafts Fair in Santa Cruz de Tenerife could create real prospects for the internationalisation of Cameroon’s handicraft.
All these elements put together, during the audience, helped to identify a number of avenues for cooperation “translated into a roadmap to be implemented so that Cameroon and Spain can bring their cooperation to the level of unexploited potentials,” said the Minister.
During the audience, the two officials mentioned the possibility for Cameroon to join the CASA AFRICA initiative whose mission is to make known economic opportunities provided by the African continent to Spanish professionals, enterprises and investors.
In the upcoming months, precisely on the 8 and 9 February 2023, both countries will collaborate on the occasion of the 2nd edition of “IMPULSO AFRICA”, an annual business meeting between Spanish and African enterprises, scheduled to take place in Madrid (Spain), and in which Cameroonian enterprises will actively participate.