coin scarcity in Douala/Cameroon

“On several counts, I have lost customers due to lack of coins”, Ernest a bike rider in Bonaberi in the Douala 4 sub division is one among many drivers and bikers who have been faced with the coin scarcity.

It has almost become normal to see passengers stationed along the road, waiting to be <lucky> enough to find a taxi driver or biker who has the 50 and 100 FCFA coins to give their balance once they arrive their final destination.

Every evening, I visit game centers or fuel stations to get coins before going home so that the next day, I do not suffer” Myriam a lady who resides in Ndobo and works in Bonassama (Douala 4).

In the market, getting basic ingredients is a whole math exercise.

“to buy four pepper fruits, I need to buy extra ingredients worth 300frs just so the vendor could have the balance of 500 frs. Consequently, I spend more on items I do not need”, Alice a housewife

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Exportation of the 50 and 100 coins to Asian countries

If many blame government for not putting into circulation sufficient coins, administrators of the Bank of Central African States BEAC say in 2021, 4098 5778,03 fcfa Bank notes and coins were put into circulation in all 6 Cemac countries. Of the billion, Cameroon alone had over 1.728 billion followed by Congo and Tchad.

The coin scarcity in Cameroon is blamed on the exportation of the 50 and 100 coins to Asian countries who transform them into jewelries, black marketing and limited communication on the various exchange points in the country.

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Coin scarcity persist

In 2021, 100 coins worth 150.000 frs was seized by Nlongkak gendarmes in Yaounde. In 2018, coins worth 2 million fcfa were seized in the residence of a Chinese national in Douala.

A BEAC official tells us that Bank operators often choose Bank notes over coins whereas they have to serve as distribution points for coins in order to boost circulation of money. Despite the 42% increase in money circulation over 14.9% in previous years, the scarcity of coins persist.

Veronica Aji