To be a Cameroonian is a blessing and not a curse. It is very ironic to expect someone else to appreciate you if you do not appreciate yourself. Cameroonians have a tendency of under grading local products and services in favour of foreign (international goods or services). Maybe there is a valid reason for this behaviour especially as it appears that Cameroonians are becoming more and more mediocre.
Sometimes goods and services of high quality are overpriced and hence local consumers are excluded. So why do Cameroonians consume less of Cameroonian made products/services? Some of the reasons are explained below.
Trying to be International or global
The terms international and global in some instances help to derail Cameroonian effort. Entrepreneurs in Cameroon should use examples from abroad and develop business products and services that are needed by the local market. When a model is copied from abroad and pasted back home without any adaptation, it is difficult for the local population to appreciate the model.
The tourism industry is very underdeveloped and the few businesses in this sector are modelled for the foreign tourist; at very high prices that almost excludes the local market.
“Over don” and selfishness
The concept of “over don” (a situation where one believes they know more than they really do) and a dose of selfishness (which is too common in Cameroon) create a recipe for the production of substandard goods and services at high unit cost.
For example, there are so many hotels in the city of Limbe that provide very poor services at ridiculously high prices. If five of the hotel owners had pooled their resources and knowledge together to build one hotel, the outcome would have been definitely better. Another example is the number of local Television channels that
Another example is the number of local Television channels that many a time lack contents to screen and are forced to screen foreign movies and shows. Entrepreneurs are sometimes too arrogant to seek advice and this alone is a very crucial factor that affects the quality of goods and services that are produced locally.
On the other hand, trust issues make the entrepreneurs to hide their business ideas, but ideas without proper implementation are as good as nothing. A well-researched idea followed by a solid business plan will always lead to the desired product.
Cameroonian Unpatriotic attitudes
There are many Cameroonians who detest the country and would say nothing good about it; sometimes out of ignorance and misinformation and other times out of valid reasons (the list of negatives about the country: corruption, exploitation, nepotism, tribalism etc.).
This attitude creates an unconscious repellent to anything Cameroonian including goods and services produced in Cameroon. Some Cameroonians actually feel ashamed to be seen consuming goods or services made in Cameroon. The bush falling – migration to the west in search of better education and jobs – phenomenon has made matters worse as many Cameroonians now consume more and more of imported goods or services, especially those that have family and friends in the diaspora.
It is very difficult for entrepreneurs in Cameroon to be creative and produce innovative goods especially with the conception that Cameroonians do not consume Cameroonian products. So everyone is trying to simply copy what is selling abroad or brand locally produced goods as produced in Italy, China, USA etc.
Cameroonians heavily rely on the government for jobs. For the country to grow and make positive change (even politically), the private sector, especially the SMEs, have to step up, create relevant products, create jobs and make meaningful contributions to nation building. These cannot happen when Cameroonians shy away from consuming products and services that are made in Cameroon.
When a Cameroonian film maker uses a local dress maker to produce the dresses that are used in making a film the dress maker will be able to employ more Cameroonians to get the job done. The movie will be watched by the dress maker and his friends or family. If the movie is a good one, it will be recommended to other friends and family members.Sooner or later one sector in the economy is rubbing the back of another sector and the sum total is the GROWTH of the economy by the people of the economy. This is the concept of PROUDLY CAMEROONIAN.
I am a proud Cameroonian because I consume products and services made in Cameroon. Are you a proud Cameroonian? If you are, be proud of using the PROUDLY CAMEROONIAN tick to identify yourself.
By Collins Mazu
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