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Cameroon – Yaounde: Cameroon: Sewing machine on the shoulder, he travels miles to hawk his services from house to house

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Written by Deckson N.

In the streets of Cameroon’s metropolises and even in the hinterland, it is common to meet young men who carry their sewing machines on their shoulders to sell their services.

These traveling tailors travel miles by trekking, they go from house to house, to offer their services. Precisely, they sew at low prices and on the spot, torn clothes. They render many other services to the populations.

This informal sector activity developed during the economic crisis in the mid-1990s.

Most of them are foreigners without papers. They are Ghanaians, Nigerians, Malians, Senegalese and Cameroonians from the three northern regions, including Adamawa, the North and the Far North.

The activity seems to nourish his man, according to Issa. Senegalese shopkeeper of 43-year old, in the Olembé neighborhood. He owned several sewing machines that he rented to his brothers. Each of his brothers pays him 300 CFA francs a day.

Their income sometimes vary between 1500 and 2000 FCFA per day. It happens that a tailor makes less than 500 CFA francs a day“, we learn from Issa, the shopkeeper of Olembé who leases the sewing machines.

He explains that the activity helps his brothers to fight against poverty and lead a more dignified life. None of the tailors on site, agrees to say more. We learn in the wake that the hawkers, pay no tax, it is an activity of the informal sector as many others that escape the control of tax agents.

They are, however, hunted down in the center of the city. Consequently, the hawking tailors take refuge in the popular neighborhoods, or outskirts of Yaoundé, where they render multifaceted services at prices that challenge all competition.

Indeed, the lowest tariffs of the services are fixed at 100 FCFA.

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Deckson N.

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