BAMENDA, Cameroon – For the past four years, business activities in the town of Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s Northwest have lost steam as a result of growing insecurity in the face of the socio-political upheavals in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
Most vibrant markets like the Nkwen and Bamenda main marketplaces have been deserted, with vendors constantly complaining about the dwindling number of customers and the unavailability of goods coming into the country. This coupled with the outbreak of the coronavirus which resulted in Government’s decision to implement thirteen strong measures to curb the growing pandemic in Cameroon among which were, the sealing of borders, the prohibition of public gatherings of more than fifty persons and the shutdown of leisure and drinking spots at exactly 6 PM.
This also included the regulation of consumer flow into markets and shopping centres throughout the national territory. This decision met a lot of reluctance from business persons who advanced reasons such as the inability to handle household expenditures and the crippling of their businesses as a result of low purchases negatively their businesses.
However, on April 30, this year, the government relaxed some of the measures on business activities, permitting the resumption of social and business activities as contained in points 1 and 2 of the relied measures in the fight against the coronavirus in Cameroon.
Nonetheless, the prices of some commodities, like plastic papers have increased from FCFA 250 to FCFA 500, limiting the purchase of certain household commodities by certain consumers.
The fall in business activities comes at a time when Cameroon has recorded more than 9000 internally displaced persons from the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, as contained in the May 31, 2020 records of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The Northwest region was equally declared one of the economically stricken regions of Cameroon in a decree signed by Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute on September 2nd in 2029.