Recently, an agreement was signed between CCMM, a construction company in Cameroon, and the investment promotion agency (API), making CCMM eligible for the taxation incentives, which were legislated in 2013. The law allowed tax and customs incentives on private investments in Cameroon. As a result, CCMM was awarded the construction project of a bus assembly plant in Douala, and the agreement was signed to lay out its legal framework.
The project's estimated cost is around XAF6 billion per government source. CCMM has been in the lorry body-making business for a long time and employs a lot of manpower. However, this mega project will now create more than four hundred direct and indirect jobs, as the company will require additional labor to complete the project on time.
Cameroon only has one bus assembly plant, which Sotrabus started in 2015. Sotrabus is a bus assembly company established by the renowned Cameroonian poly technician Albert Mbafe Konkou. The CCMM will start the second Cameroonian bus assembly plant due to this agreement. However, many industry analysts believe that the project assigned to CCMM will experience a shortage of professionally qualified workforce.
The administrative director at Sotrabus, David Nchenouossi, said that most of his organization's labor is recruited from West Africa because the Cameroonian automobile manufacturing industry lacks the required number of trained professionals.
Another reason that will contribute to the shortage of labor, according to the experts, is the presence of competitors in the market. For example, Gaspard Mpondo, a French entrepreneur, launched his motorbike assembly company, Jengu Sarl, in 2019, in Douala. His company assembles solar-powered three-wheelers and motorcycles. Jengu Sarl was started as a joint venture between Gaspard Mpondo and Chinese investors. Mpondo aims to build a vehicle assembly plant in the future, too, with the help of Chinese investors.
Similarly, two other Chinese projects have been in the pipeline since 2015. First, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Chinese and Cameroonian governments on June 11, 2015, to construct two automobile assembly units in Kribi (South) and Douala (Littoral).
The China-Cameroon auto show had also been organized From April 20 to 26, 2017, in this regard. Around twenty different ranges of automobiles (Vans, mini-busses, off-roaders, tractors, and sedans) were brought from China. According to the organizers, the car show was organized to let Cameroonian consumers discover the variety of the Chinese automobile industry. However, the China-Cameroon automobile plants have not been established yet despite multiple efforts. There can be different reasons that can be cited for the abeyance of the project. However, it can be said with certainty that the lack of professional force is one of them.