Salon International de l'artisanat au Cameroun
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Handicraft in Cameroon

By creating MINPMEESA in December 2004, the government of Cameroon had established an institutional framework that has helped to elevate handicraft to the level of government function. Law No. 2007/004 of July 3, 2007, came to consolidate this achievement by regulating the sub-sector.

This set of trades which the Cameroonian State gives support and consideration, even more than before, is becoming a growth factor and a vector of struggle against unemployment and endemic poverty. Handicraft as valued is a noble activity and a means of incentive to individual and professional entrepreneurship patrimony.

Given the potentials it offers, both in terms of the expression of a cultural handicraft and / or know-how inherited from father to son, rather than, the many varied and usual bearings, Crafts can be regarded as the "First Company of Cameroon."

Cameroon National Corps of Artisans records, nearly 40 000 artisans in 10 regions of Cameroon, divided in about forty organizations and close to 300 groups and associations; a true national nest which according to regions and traditions, draws the Artisanal chart of Cameroon on the basics of the type of activity :

  • In the Far North: tanning, weaving and pottery
  • In the deep south: wood and byproducts of the forest
  • In West and North West: copper, bronze, wood carving, weaving and embroidery
  • In the Littoral and South West: wood and wood byproducts, basket-work, decorations and floral art, textiles and clothing

The Challenges

Cameroon, through being one of the oldest centers of African art, has remained for the past decades hesitant to put in orbit in this sector. The craft is experiencing multifaceted burdens that hinder its evolution, modernization and development:

  • Organizing and structuring the sector
  • Access to credit to acquire equipment needed for the development of activities
  • Access to training (management, capacity building)
  • The establishment of a mechanism of social protection and appropriate taxation

To help meet these challenges, the Cameroonian government has taken two major options :

1) The construction of 12 large-scale complex which will include all together :

    • A space for training
    • An exhibition of products manufactured
    • A workshop production

These artisanal complexes craft will be distributed one per region, (considering 10 regions in Cameroon), plus 2 special villages including one in Foumban in the West, specializing in metal work and the other in the center in Mbalmayo, specialized in ceramics.

2) The biennial holding in January in Yaounde, of an international show dedicated exclusively to handicraft.