(Invest in Cameroon) - Cameroon's national accounts for the first quarter, published by the National Institute of Statistics (NSI), show an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.2%.
" This performance stems from the dynamism of activities in the three sectors (manufacturing, secondary and tertiary) " , yes reads the document.
A closer look at this publication, however, reveals some weaknesses that should draw the attention of the first economy in Central Africa.
A first point is that this progression is derived from a comparison with performance over the same period in 2018. A comparison that, if done well, cannot hide the variations in performance.
In absolute terms, Cameroon's GDP has fallen over the last two quarters. It was already down 1% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the previous three months, and Q1 2019 GDP is actually down 5.6%, compared to the last quarter of 2018.
Moreover, we note that the dynamism of the tertiary sector, claimed by the accounts for the first quarter of 2019, hides a certain slowdown. Its contribution to GDP was 2110.1 billion CFA francs during the period. This is the lowest figure since the second quarter of 2018. A similar slowdown was observed in the secondary (processing) and primary (basic manufacturing) sectors.
A final point of concern is that both consumption and investment have declined. Private and public investments are on a downward trend. Cameroon faces numerous headwinds both in terms of the domestic situation and internationally. Its main export commodity (oil) and other export products have seen a drop in prices since the beginning of the year and this has generated this downward trend.