I know many people have had a bad experience investing in Cameroon before, especially Cameroonians. Things are no longer the way it used to be. Most of the time, what happens is that many people do not know what is needed for business registration or have fallen into the wrong hands.
Also, some government agencies don’t have or have very little information about specific opportunities or documentation online. However, times are changing and many ministries give up-to-date information about what is happening in their sector. The Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the Directorate General of Taxation is one of such.
That notwithstanding, what I wish to make you know in this post is that are many changes that have been made and things are not the way it was before. Below are some of the changes you can find which encourages both national and non-national investors to start their businesses in Cameroon.
[nextpage title=”Your Business Registration Can Be Done Within 72 Hours”]
In a previous post, I talked of Why You Need to Invest In Cameroon and various points were brought up that will encourage investors, both national and foreigners to invest in Cameroon. At first, you could take up to 37 days to create a company in Cameroon, but today, business registration can be done within 72 hours. It is now possible for those who want to start a business in Cameroon to register their companies online as well as through the one-stop shops that have been created by the Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. These two mediums has drastically reduced the long administrative procedures needed to register a company.
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After you register your company, you need to get the license to start operating from the tax office. This at first wasn’t easy, but today, you can obtain that within 24 hours in the tax office where your business premises is located. This, provided you have your business incorporation document and tax payer’s card which are all issued to you at the one-stop shop. Furnished with all these documents and your business location plan, you can get a business license within 24 hours signed by the tax representative of the where you carry out your business activities. In all, you can get your business started within 4-5 days in Cameroon except in the case where you need some specific authorizations or licenses.
Don’t take the above two for a joke because I have clients who have gone through the process and can testify. With that done, you can start your business and earn money in Cameroon. What about business ownership?
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Foreigners as well as nationals can own 100% shares and profits for their business in Cameroon. That means they can have a sole ownership of their business be it a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company. You no longer need to share with a local partner as it is done in many other African countries. 100% of the profit of some businesses are allowed to be taken out of the country at any time provided you do so legally. The authorities don’t insist on you reinvesting part of your profit in the country, though some sectors are allowed to do so. This is a very important fact that has to be taken into consideration, especially by foreign investors.
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Non-nationals and nationals are allowed to own land in Cameroon. As an investor, you can buy or lease land from the government as well as private individuals to carry out your business installations. The Chinese and Nigerians investors have taken advantage of this and are investing greatly in real estate (a booming sector) in Cameroon.
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There are some sectors like the mining, forestry, fishing and others that you would have to obtain a license before you start operation. A license may take you some weeks or even a month. Others may require you to carry out activities that relate to the industry for a while before you are awarded a license. This is not to deter investors but to make sure adventurers don’t come in and take advantage of the industry. Another reason is that there are some sectors that are sensitive and the government may not just grant licenses without seeing some show of seriousness on the part of the investor and also for environmental reasons.
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