Households in Cameroon are in for very rough times as prices of basic commodities are spiraling to unbearable proportions. The almost 98% increase in the prices of basic commodities, according to some economists, has been blamed on the end of year festivities, and the influx of expatriates into the country with hard currencies.
Products like cooking oil, dairy, chicken, fish, and beef have been greatly impacted, with the price of chicken witnessing an increase from $5.17 to about $10.35. In Bamenda where pro-independence fighters are battling government troops, the situation is dire as the prices of basic products have almost doubled. For example, the price of Palm oil (largely Consumed in the area) has witnessed an increase from $1 a liter to about $2.5. Many families, who live on less than $1 a day, are in for rough times, and many fear the 2009 food crises which the government violently suppressed, might repeat itself.
Amid the price hikes, Cameroon’s Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga has been making frantic efforts to sort things out and beat down the prices. His ministry has in partnership with some local businesses organized what they termed “Christmas and New Year For All” where some of these products are sold at relatively cheap prices in mini trade fairs. This measure, observers say, is inadequate and shortsighted because it is serving residents of the two major cities of Yaounde and Douala. Local economists think that government needs to put in place a comprehensive strategy to resolve the price hikes and avert an imminent catastrophe.
In a news story aired over France 24, on December 23, 2021, the reporter indicated that “the cost of basic foodstuff has reached such high level that many Cameroonian families are now finding it difficult to feed themselves properly.” The reporter cautioned the government of Cameroon to “fix things before they go off-hand which might lead to an uprising.”
The Cameroon Minister of Communication, Rene Emmanuel Said has gone on state media to describe the report as “fanciful allegations, which are groundless and do not reflect the socio-economic reality of our country at present time.”
Mr. Sadi’s rebuttal had one little or nothing to kill the story as inhabitants of the capital city, Yaounde are feeling the pangs of the price hikes. Yoland Ngono, a buyer at the Mokolo market exclaimed, “I brought CFA F 10,000 (about $17.25) to buy food for my family, look at my basket, just look, there is nothing in there. It is like I brought CFA F 1,000 ($1.7) to the market. Tell the president that we are hungry, we are hungry!”.