Cameroon’s informal sector, which officially occupies 90 per cent of the country’s labor force, is as productive as that of countries of much higher economic levels in Africa. Indeed, according to an IMF report, the informal sector in Cameroon contributes between 20 and 30% to the formation of the GDP of the country, in the same way as in South Africa and in Mauritius.
Unlike Cameroon, the two countries mentioned above have the distinction of being the largest economy in Africa, as regards South Africa; and to dominate virtually all African rankings in terms of good governance, business climate, ease of investment, development of the digital economy, and so on.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Cameroon is better off in terms of the preponderance of the informal sector in the economy, since, under the IMF, in this part of the black continent, the informal sector’s share of GDP is between 20 & 65%, with peaks in Tanzania and Nigeria, the continent’s second largest economy.
As a factor in the development of the informal sector in Africa, the IMF lists too high a tax and social burden, a small market size and a low level of economic activity, an inefficient legal system, excessive bureaucracy, access to finance to develop economic activities, weaknesses in governance, etc.
As a reminder, according to a study published in November 2011 by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), there are more than 2.5 million informal production units (IPU) in Cameroon, Half (49.5%) in rural areas and 33.3% in the cities of Yaoundé and Douala, the two capitals of the country. At the same time, according to the same study, the structure of these production units by sector of activity reveals that 34.1% of them are in industry, 33.6% in commerce and 32.2% in services.