Registration of a Sole-proprietorship in Cameroon

I still find many people confusing what the difference between a sole-proprietorship Cameroon which is registered in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register and a company. I have seen people calling what is commonly called in Cameroon Etablissement (in French) with acronym ETS a company. It is necessary for you to know what each one stands for before you engage in registering your business.

To understand this better, you may need to know what a registered business is all about and reasons why you should have your business registered. in the latter, I have explained in detail the difference between a sole-proprietorship and a company. That will help you to know what type of business you really want to register.

Let’s go back to sole-proprietorship and how it can be registered in Cameroon as a natural person in the Trad and Personal Property Credit Register. Don’t forget that there is another category of sole-proprietorship that pays the discharge tax under the flat rate tax regime. The flat rate tax regime applies for all businesses that are below 10 million francs CFA. Such businesses don’t pay the business license tax. They pay their tax quarterly and are classified in four categories. We will be seeing that soon.

Article 25 of the OHADA Uniform Act Relating to General Commercial Law that all natural persons who regard their status as a trader must register at the competent court where his business is operational. The article also states that such will have to do so within the first month of operations.

There are specific information the administration needs from the business owner in order for them to register at the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register in Cameroon. These include:

  • Full name, residence, date, place of birth and nationality of the applicant
  • The applicant needs to list down the activities to be carried out by the business
  • They may also ask for your marriage certificate – this includes where and when the marriage took place, the account type (joint or separate). It should be noted that a sole-proprietorship doesn’t have limited liability. In this case, they have to know in order to know whose property to take in case there debts or damages.
  • The business location – you need to provide an address of where the business is located or will be located. Where applicable, you will also need to give the address of other subsidiaries or branch offices and
  • The date the principal business or where applicable the subsidiaries or branch office.

For you to register a sole-proprietorship in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register in Cameroon, you have to provide some documents that will show proof of the above declarations. Before going ahead with the documents, you need to understand that this type of sole-proprietorship falls under the simplified tax regime or the actual rate tax regime. This is what I call a sole-proprietor with business license.

Applicants who wish to register their business as natural persons in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register in Cameroon will have to provide the following documents to show proof of their declarations.


1. Proof of identity

If you are a Cameroonian, you will have to show proof of identity. In this case, you can furnish your

  • birth certificate
  • national identity card
  • passport
  • or any other administrative document that shows proof of your identity

2. Marriage certificate

Where necessary, the marriage certificate is asked before you can register a business as a natural person. This is needed most especially to know the marriage regime of the person – whether it is joint or separate accounts. In case of any liability, the authorities will know where their limits end. It should be noted that sole-proprietorships have unlimited liability.

3. Criminal record extract

The natural person should provide an extract of his/her criminal record. In Cameroon, such a document is represented by the Certificate of Non-conviction which is issued by the court registrar of your division of birth. In the case where the document is not available, any other document similar to such can be accepted.

Where the person is an alien, he or she has to provide an extract of his or her criminal record from the country of birth. If this isn’t available, another similar document can be used in lieu of this.

4. Business location

You have to provide a copy of the tenancy agreement or title deed of the principal place of business and where applicable, its subsidiaries. In the absence of this, you can register and get an attestation of location after declaring your annual rent at the tax office where your business is located. This document will also serve you in the obtaining your business license later.

5. In case of management lease or purchase of the business

If you are changing the ownership of a business which you purchased, you will have to show proof by providing a copy of the sales certificate or the management lease deed.

6. License, authorization or permit

There are cases in which you may have to provide a license, authorization or permit to carry out a specific activity. In this case, you may be asked for the authorization if the need arises


Residence permit

In addition to the above mentioned documents to provide in order to show proof of your declarations, foreigners resident in Cameroon and want to register as natural persons in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register will provide a residence permit. This comes after showing proof of identity, in this case their residence permits. For the extract of criminal record, they have to get it from authorities in their country of origin.

If you are Nigerian, and you want to register a business in Cameroon as a natural person, check out the necessary documents.

Source: OHADA | Cameroon Tax Administration

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