On November 30, fifty-six representatives from the Cameroonian food processing, handicraft, and textile sectors gathered in Douala to learn more about duty-free export opportunities under the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Organized by the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Craft (CCIMC), in collaboration with the Trade Hub, the workshop provided a platform for authorities from the CCIMC and the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to meet and share information with all participants, including 19 women.
Since 2007, the CCIMC, which hosts the Cameroonian AGOA/Trade Resource Center (ATRC), has held AGOA workshops for businesses, in an effort to support the greater use of AGOA’s tariff advantages in Cameroon. With a 2016 Trade Hub grant, the CCIMC has begun more in-depth advisory services and technical assistance to Cameroonian companies, including a previous AGOA awareness workshop in Bertoua in June 2016.
In preparation for this event, the U.S. Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce assisted the Cameroon ATRC with pre-workshop outreach and sensitization of business owners in and around Douala and Yaoundé. Topics explored in the pre-workshop outreach included financing opportunities and funding offered by the U.S. Government for entrepreneurship.
During the workshop, participants agreed that Cameroon needs to define an AGOA export strategy, starting with the development of working groups in the handicraft, agricultural commodities and textile sectors.