Life In Campo : Coping In The Absence Of Trade

While business is at a standstill following the border closure, locals are struggling to eke out a living from crop and fish farming.

Trade with neighbouring Equatorial Guinea that used to make Campo tick is no more. Today, officials of the local customs post and government offices who used to oversee the regularity of such trade are idle. Until early March 2020, trade provided the lifeline to people on either side of the maritime border. Campo, a little Cameroonian town perched on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean Division, South Region, is just a stone throw from the Equatorial Guinean town of Rio Campo. Both towns are separated by the Ntem Delta whose waterway of just under a kilometre-wide forms part of the Atlantic Ocean
Cross-border trade in fish, foodstuff, household goods, coconut and can drinks has since been brought to a complete standstill. Ipoua Robert Olivier, the Mayor of Campo, says the economic impact of the border closure as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic is enormous on both the Cameroonian and Equatorial Guinean economies. In Campo, the number of unemployed has risen sharply, with prices of goods imported from Equatorial Guinea have started going up. Ipoua warns of the urgent need to cushion the effects of the border closure on local business people and the general public. 
Today, the little fishing that still goes on in Campo is only for local consumption. Literally speaking, Campo residents are confined to their town as there is little or no vehicle traffic to the divisional headquarters, Kribi, 75 km away. Reason why Cameroon Tribune’s team did not bypass any public transport vehicle or commercial motorcycle during its trip from Kribi to Campo and back. “If the border closure lasts long, locals will be unable to bear it, given that they do not have any other major means of livelihood,” Ipoua warns. 
The Divisional Officer for Campo, Joel Eteme Elanga, concurs, but adds that the Minister of Trade has taken up the matter. “We are awaiting the implementation of the measures so that Campo is not left out of what big towns and cities in the country will be offered,” Elanga says with an air of great expectation. 
“Though there ...

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