The industrial sector is one of the priority sectors for the revival of economic growth and fight against poverty. The industrial fabric is fast expanding and is quite diversified. It includes : agro-industry, agri-food industry, extractive industry, chemical industry, and iron industry. Given the constraints associated with the liberalisation of the economy and
globalization, the government of Cameroon has readjusted its industrial policy to adapt to the new economic order. In concrete terms, this was translated by the improvement of the business climate through effective implementation of the Investment Charter of 22 July 2004.
This Charter provides for the establishment of economic zones which will grant a number of tax incentives to investors according to the investment regime. For instance, under the reinvestment regime, the investor will benefit from a tax reduction equal to 50 per cent of reinvestments and an exemption from duties and taxes for the purchase of locally manufactured products.
This is in an attempt to take advantage of the strategic position conferred on it by a potential market of 200 million consumers in Central Africa, including Nigeria; the manufacturing industry accounts for 26 per cent of the GDP. More than 55 percent of industrial production is realised by about twenty companies which employ more than 5,000 workers, and account for 75 per cent of salaries, 65 percent of the turnover of the sector and more than 50 percent of exports. The sub-sectors of the industry include:
Agro-industry comprises two sub-sectors: agro-food industry and export agro-industry. The brewing industry plays a leading role in the agro-food industry sub-sector. Cameroon is among the biggest brewers in Africa with an average production of four million hectolitres.
Four breweries are active in the sector. Meanwhile, export agro-industry is led by large corporations such as CDC which is specialized in the production of banana, palm oil and rubber ; SOSUCAM (sugar) ; SODECOTON (cotton) ; SOCAPALM (palm oil) ; HEVECAM (rubber) ; PHP and SPM (banana) ; SAFACAM (crude and refined palm oil).
It is specialized in exploitation, processing and supply of oil and mining products. This industry has a large expansion potential.
The sector is led by Cameroon Cotton Industry Corporation (CICAM) which produces 7,500 tons of cotton yarn and 32 million metres of printed fabric. Its branch, SOLICAM, manufactures terry cloth earmarked for exportation.
ALUCAM is the leading company in the metallurgical sector. The company is specialized in the transformation of alumina into aluminium. ALUCAM produces 90,000 tons of aluminium ingots on average. The government, in partnership with RIO TINTO ALCAN, has implemented a vast project on the extension of ALUCAM in order to increase the production capacity of the company to 300,000 tons per year.
A good example of engineering industries is shipbuilding. The leading company is the Cameroon Shipyard and Industrial Engineering Ltd (CNIC). Initially the CNIC focused on ship repairs but is now involved in shipbuilding. In 2008, CNIC built the first drill barge in Africa. Other companies specialized in hardware andboiler engineering operate alongside CNIC.
There are a few companies in this sector which manufacture detergents, perfumes, soaps, painting, pharmaceutical products, etc. The soap industry is highly developed ; it is led by the Complexe Chimique Camerounais (CCC).
In Cameroon, the sector still lags behind. The firms that operate in the sector are focused on the production of batteries (PILCAM) and storage batteries, assembly of household appliances and radios, and rewind of engines, etc.