2 February 2013

Cameroon: France-Cameroon Economic Forum Attracts More Investors

President Paul Biya took the centre stage on Thursday at the Pavillon Gabriel in Paris to sell the Cameroon destination to the French business community.

The setting was Pavilion Gabriel at the 8th District in Paris and the event was the Cameroon-France Forum. At the centre of action was President Paul Biya accompanied by more than a dozen members of government and a number of top managers from the private and public sector in Cameroon. Over one hundred members of the French business community grouped under MEDEF and led by Michel Roussin, Vice President of that structure were in attendance. The durable economic partnership that was the central theme of this forum, also strove to keep every participant at the same level of information as to the opportunities and facilities for investments in Cameroon. The day began as early as nine o'clock at the Pavilion Gabriel with Cameroon members of government taking the floor to give vital information on the opportunities and facilities of investment. The question and answers and eventual debate threw more light on Cameron's development strategy and the political orientations. It was at this stage of the forum that French enterprises operating in Cameroon (Rougier, CFAO, Bollore, Perenco, Total and others) gave vivid accounts of their experiences on the ground. All pointed to a favourable financial and legal framework that facilitates business and investments in Cameroon.

Favourable Environment

Section two of the forum was set into motion with the arrival of President Paul Biya at the main conference hall, the Pavilion Gabriel. After a brief résumé of all what has taken place earlier in the day by Michel Roussin, the Vice President of MEDEF International, the floor was given to some French business heavy weights for some testimonies. The first speaker was Bruno Lafont, PDG of Lafarge. He lauded the Cameroon business environment for its numerous positive aspects and spelt out actions taken by his consortium to promote investments and employment in Cameroon. The second speakers were the top executives of GDF Suez, Denis Simonneau and Raphael Tilot. At the third position on the speaking agenda was Phillippe Colleu, President of Onomo International. As a multi-national hotel business outfit, Onomo International has purchased a ten thousand square metres land in Kribi to construct a top class hotel of over one hundred and twenty rooms. The fourth speaker dwelled briefly on the need for human resources training as a factor for economic progress. All through the session, speakers stressed the vitality and promise of the economic environment in Cameroon and the members of government went the extra mile to explain the new developments and the latest orientations geared towards making investing in Cameroon a profitable venture.

Bright Future

The closing speech of the Head of State drew curtains on the Cameroon-France Forum. He began by expressing gratitude to MEDEF for their contribution to the organization of the forum, and went further to stress the importance of the event. The renewal of certain old contacts, the opportunity for new investors to discover Cameroon and its multiple changes underline the need for such a forum. The President went down memory lane tracing earlier actions engaged by Cameroon to attract the French private sector to join the train of our greater economic realizations. President Paul Biya expressed the hope that the various explanations of members of government and the accompanying debate have set the stage for the active participation of the French private sector in Cameroon's ineluctable march to emergence in 2035. He insisted that the business environment in Cameroon has considerably improved thanks to many positive reforms, the growth of good governance and the ongoing fight against corruption.

The President further stressed his appreciation of the initiatives taken by the French government to support Cameroon's numerous development projects. Other French structures that have consistently promoted the economic take-off of Cameroon were also praised. The French Development Agency (AFD) and its management of the second segment of the C2D was singled out for special thanks. President Paul Biya concluded his speech by insisting that Cameroon has a bright future and is a major attraction for any investor. He expressed satisfaction to all who contributed to the success of the Cameroon-France Forum. A visit to an exposition depicting the vast opportunities in Cameroon and a cocktail ended the event. Shortly after the departure of the Head of State, members of government sat in for a press conference that threw more light on the investment opportunities in Cameroon.

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