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NOTI Report 1

Assessing Cameroon -Nigeria Free Trade:
Prospects for Economic Growth and Enhanced Cooperation


Cameroon and Nigeria are respectively Central and West African countries that have similar economic structures underpinned by exports in commodities and agricultural products. Although both countries have traded together for several years, trade has been hampered by burdensome tariff and non-tariff measures. However, free trade works with other market processes to shift workers and resources to more productive uses, allowing more efficient industries to thrive. The result is higher wages, investment in such things as infrastructure, and a more dynamic economy that continues to create new jobs and opportunities.

Furthermore, free trade drives competitiveness. Free trade does require Cameroonian businesses and workers to adapt to the shifting demands of the worldwide marketplace. But these adjustments are critical to remaining competitive, and competition is what fuels long-term growth. Improving the transparency of current procedures and regulations such as cross-border trucking is essential to increase the predictability of cross-border trade and allow the effective implementation of policy.

Trade procedures remain largely non-transparent, demanding numerous formal and informal payments. In addition to the lack of transparency, regulatory checks and measures exist that are mostly not fully applied, thereby reducing the positive impact of aligned trade procedures between Cameroon and Nigeria. This report assesses the nature of Cameroon – Nigeria trade and delves into the nature of tariff and non-tariff measures. The authors illustrate how fragmentation through regional economic zones adversely impact trade flows and mitigate development gains in both Cameroon and Nigeria.

The AfCFTA is a unique opportunity for Africa, but it must be implemented effectively to ensure that our citizens benefit effectively from stronger trading ties, reformed trade procedures and greater market access for both Cameroonian and Nigerian producers. The AfCFTA will increasingly underpin trade between Cameroon and Nigeria and we hope this report enables stakeholders to begin effecting and incentivizing our evidence-based policy recommendation.

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A leading African think tank with a mission to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations that allows all Africans to prosper in free, fair, democratic and sustainable economies.