Cameroon: Government Plans Alcohol Tax Increase

The government of Cameroon plans to increase taxes for alcohol and tobacco to limit consumption of these harmful substances, prevent related harm and boost revenue.

If you want to fight against the excessive consumption of tobacco products, it is important to make sure that products are not more available and [not] more affordable. For example, whiskey and alcohol, we will see how we can strengthen taxation to make these products less accessible to consumers, less affordable for young people and the disadvantaged,” said Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Trade, as per Devidscourse.

Alcohol policy in Cameroon

©WHO Global Status Report 2018

As the World Health Organization reports, Cameroon’s total per capita alcohol consumption is at 8.9 litres which is significantly above the average for the WHO African region. The alcohol burden is high in the country, despite the fact that more than 60% of the adult population does not consume alcohol. But among alcohol users, annual per capita consumption is worryingly high with 22.6 litres of pure alcohol. About half (51.8%) of alcohol consuming youth between 15 to 19 years in Cameroon engage in binge alcohol consumption.

The people of Cameroon suffer from both alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependency above the average of the WHO African region. Cameroon is placed on the highest end for years of life lost due to alcohol.

Considering the harm alcohol causes, it is positive that the government has decided to raise alcohol taxes. Raising taxes and through that reducing affordability of alcohol is a WHO recommended best buy policy solution proven to effectively reduce and prevent alcohol harm

Cameroon would benefit more from implementing a comprehensive national alcohol policy following the best buys recommended by WHO and the SAFER technical package to tackle the alcohol burden and promote development for all.