CEMAC-Small Population, Many Entrepreneurs

The Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) achieved no monetary prize at the first edition of the African Entrepreneurship Award (AEA). However, entrepreneurs from CEMAC represented 3 of the 34 finalists, representing 9% of the total, whereas its entire population accounts for only 4% of the African population!

3 countries account for the major part of the projects

In the 2015 premier edition, 165 entrepreneurs submitted proposals from the CEMAC region. Cameroon took the lion’s share with a little more than three quarters of the projects submitted, followed far behind, by The Democratic Republic of Congo (11%) and Gabon (7%).

The CEMAC statistics are logical in view of both the large number of fast growing incubators and support structures for the creation of businesses – BantuHub Congo, Gabon business innovation lab and JA Business Innovation Lab in Gabon, ActivSpaces AfriLabs in Cameroon… – and the ease of doing business in much of CEMAC, according to the World Bank .

Distribution of projects submitted by country of location (CEMAC)

CEMAC graph 1

Women are facing a tough environment

In the same vein, only 17.6% of the bidders hold a different nationality or live in a different country in which they plan to invest. In other words, entrepreneurs in CEMAC region are quite attached to their domestic markets, not as much as those of SADC and SACU where this indicator is 11.6% and 14% respectively, but more than ECOWAS.

Moreover, in this region, where the project promoter is thirty years on average, the proportion of female applicants is considered low compared to other regions (16% vs. 21% for ECOWAS, 27% for SADC and SACU). The development of female entrepreneurship might be hindered by their limited access to critical resources (including land and credit) and the sociocultural environment.

CEMAC graph 2

Average age of bidders in corporate projects by nationality





Technologies and environment, still ahead as investment opportunities

Finally, and from a sectoral standpoint, 76% of investment intentions are focused, in descending order, on NICT – particularly in activities related to education, commerce and health, renewable energy, services, education and industry.

The three 2015 Award finalists from the region lie in this trend. The first one, a Congolese, is a system of sponsorship for employment. The second one, SkyPower, is a Cameroonian solution for energy relief. The third one, Quick-Do, developed in France by a Cameroonian, aims to reconcile Africans with books via a digital solution.

 Distribution of projects submitted by industry (CEMAC)

CEMAC graph 3

Driven mainly by Cameroon, CEMAC may have not won any prize during the 2015 edition, but has been represented by three finalists. CEMAC remains a diverse and growing entrepreneurial, with hopes for a winning project in 2016.

[1] Doing business 2016


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