CFA 225,000 Million For Small Enterprises

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Poverty reduction goes with increasing riches and creating employment. This has so far been the major challenge both to government and the private sector. Avenues for obtaining loans have remained blurred, making things rather difficult for small enterprises. In order to pave the way for them to easily obtain credits and realise projects that can alleviate their poverty state, government in 1999 created the Private Enterprises Credit Agency (ACEP) with major objective to: promote the development of small enterprises in both the formal and informal sectors, give out loans to them up to an amount of CFA 3.7 billion (USD 6.8 million), contribute in the fight against poverty by giving out micro credits to them and prepare a plan to extend the network to other provinces other than Yaounde and Douala.

After a remarkable success, six years after, during which ACEP gave out 18,000 loans amounting to CFA 11 billion (USD 21.7 million), the Private Enterprise Credit Agency (ACEP), last Friday September 16, witnessed a significant transformation, following the signing of a financial agreement between the government of Cameroon on the one hand and two development bodies: the French Development Agency and the European Union. The two organisations agreed to fund the transformation of ACEP from a government-managed agency to a private owned enterprise. In this light, an amount of CFA 225,600,000 million (USD 418,000) would be disbursed by the two organisations for the project which is henceforth managed by a national private company and is operating under the acronym ACEP SA.

In spite of the success of the initial project, the demand for credit remains high and in conformity with the commitments taken by government, ACEP had to evolve in two main directions: the institution of a pilot project and its privatisation and extension of funding of micro enterprises in other provinces. The funds disbursed by the French Development Agency and the European Union will help extend the projects to Bafoussam and the grand north.

Last Friday, therefore marked the beginning of a new phase of the project where it was conferred to private operators with a sound base and experience in credit management and financial prowess. These include financial institutions such as: Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Epargne et le Cr?dit (BICEC), Investment and Partners company, ACEP D?veloppement, National Investment Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and handicrafts.

Signing on behalf of the government of Cameroon was the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Polycarpe Abah Abah in the presence of Messengue Avom Bernard, Minister of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft, and Bomback Suzanne, minister of Women and Family Affairs. The coordinator of ACEP represented the consortium in the signing.

Source: Cameroon Tribune (link opens in a new window)