Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

27 March 2013

Cameroon: Biya Says Arms Wide Open for Turk Investors

The President of the Republic arrived in Istanbul yesterday to close a forum on doing business in Cameroon.

On the third day of his current visit to Turkey, the Head of State yesterday was main speaker at a purely economic event organized jointly by Cameroonian businessmen and TUSKON, the Export Promotion Agency of Turkey in Istanbul, the bustling economic capital of Turkey. Some 500 business people and industry leader turned up for the Forum at which they heard several presentations on prospects of doing business in Cameroon prior to the presence of the Head of State who was to come much later for the closing of the session.

Taking the floor first were representatives of Cameroon's Export Promotion Agency who spoke elaborately about all that it takes to do business in the country. The Minister for the Economy Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi addressed the Forum to reassure all of the institutional guarantees for investors and the specific areas government was targeting for foreign investors who could either come in as bidders for tenders for the numerous worksites the country is about to launch or those who want to invest outright with the intention of making profits from their investments. The football icon, Rigobert Song also took the floor to sell the numerous business openings in his country. Song's appeal seems to have had a very enthusiastic following seen from the standing applause that followed the introduction to his statement made in the Turkish language. President Biya, in selecting Song to be part of his official entourage had really made a good ambassadorial choice seen from the reaction in the hall. Song played professional football in Turkey for seven years and is held in high esteem here even beyond sporting circles. Moreover, he told the Turkish potential investors that he was doing rather well as a businessman in Cameroon.

Many government ministers from Cameroon, especially from the economic sector, were on hand to take questions from the Turkish businessmen. The various exposés seemed so limpid that the ministers were not particularly solicited. Many on the Turkish side were able to see "live" the performance and potentialities of the Cameroonian industrial sector through several film projections made available by the Chamber of Commerce, the Export Promotion Agency or the Ministry of the Economy. Several other Cameroonian companies such as CAMWATER, SIC (the housing corporation) and the Crédit Foncier, CAMTEL were very visible either through their CEOs or through the numerous handouts and fliers freely distributed to participants.

Apotheosis

The peak of the event came at about 1.30 PM (12.30PM Yaounde time) when President Paul Biya made his entry into the Forum hall. The Head of State had flown into Istanbul barely minutes before from Ankara where he had spent the first part of his State visit to Turkey. On the announcement, in Turkish, of his arrival the entire hall rose to its feet in a standing ovation. Responding to welcome remarks made by the Chairperson of TUSKON and the Turkish Economy minister, the Head of State gave an exhaustive presentation of the Cameroonian economy, taking pains to describe those sectors that could interest the businessmen and from which they could draw benefits

He ended this appeal to the Turkish businessmen with an emphatic: Welcome to Cameroon...you will find assistance and security for the prosperity of yours businesses".

Today's programme schedule includes a visit of some rare tourist sites in Istanbul; the only restful part of his four-day stay in Turkey.

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