News / Africa

    Chinese Goods Top Christmas Wish List In Cameroon

    In Cameroon, as elsewhere, Christmas is often accompanied by consumer spending sprees on food, clothes and toys. Across the Central African nation of 20 million inhabitants, dwindling purchasing power and a lack of local manufactured goods have given Chinese imports an edge. Low-priced products from the Asian economic powerhouse are the most-preferred this Christmas.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    For many in predominantly Chrisian Cameroon, Christmas without new dresses, playthings and extraordinary food is unthinkable.  Family breadwinners must provide them all for their spouses, kids and other dependents to guarantee a happy and peaceful holiday.

    Across the country this year, the traditional hustle and bustle that usually heralds the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ started off slowly.  Until a few days ago, traders grumbled about poor sales, fearing they may end up with piles of unsold stocks of the seasonal Christmas goods.

    Civil servants complained the government had failed to pay their salaries on time.  Others said they were waiting for the last minute rush and a possible drop in prices.  As a result, most markets nationwide only recently witnessed an upsurge in sales in the final days to Christmas.

    Gifts made in China, the preference of many consumers this Christmas in Cameroon.
    Gifts made in China, the preference of many consumers this Christmas in Cameroon.

    In the country’s most-populated city and economic nub Douala, the vast majority of Christmas shoppers prefer low-priced Chinese goods. Many said imported products from other parts of the world like Europe and America are far beyond their reach.  They  addedthat with as little as little as five dollars, it is possible to buy a dress and a pair of shoes.

    Soaring demand

    Throughout the streets of Douala and other major urban settlements, the soaring demand for Chinese dresses, toys, medicines, motorbikes and electronic appliances among others has led to cutthroat competition for street-side commercial space between Chinese nationals and their Cameroonian hosts.

    Economists say the failure of the country to manufacture consumer goods and the heavy dependence on imports has favored the steady influx over the years of Chinese products.

    Calixtus Fuh Gentry is the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development.  He said the situation is not peculiar to Cameroon.

    "China is bailing out the whole," said Gentry. "The U.S. owes China lots of money. China is bailing out Europe. So it’s not that we’re rushing to China. The very partners we started with, who are internationally renowned companies from very highly industrialized countries are heading to China to get financing, or they’re bought out by the Chinese."

    However, a fraction of Cameroonian consumers said they would not, for anything in the world, spend a dime on Chinese goods for Christmas. For them, the more expensive products from Europe or America are better because they last longer.

    Demand for consumer electronics

    Despite the ongoing debate, Chinese products have clearly topped the wish lists for many this Christmas in Cameroon.  Among the choice items for shoppers are educational electronic toys and gadgets including laptops.

    Many parents say they have noted with delight the absence of toy weapons on the markets this season.  They say it is an indication that years of lobbying against them are finally paying off.

    Elsewhere, some are frowning at the increasing commercialization of Christmas over the years.  Ursula Njefrey, a member of the Holy Trinity Choir of the Presbyterian Church in the capital Yaoundé, said the growing attention on material at Christmas is blurring the real meaning of Christmas for many.

    "Christmas is a season for reconciliation, for peace, for love," she said. For those who cannot afford to buy gifts, or don't believe in purchased ones, she offers songs,and greetings, of the season instead.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora