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Starting a Business in Cameroon – What It Takes

Business in Cameroon

Doing business in Cameroon is not difficult as the world is saying. The problem is choosing the right agencies or consultants to help you start your business. According to the Ease of Doing Business ranking, Cameroon ranks 163 out of 190 economies. The ranking has improved from 166 in 2016 to 163 n 2017 with an average of 165.80 between 2008 to 2017.

Download Understanding Business Institutions in Cameroon

Business in Cameroon

Mount Fako (Cameroon)

The Ease of Doing business index helps to rank countries in the world against each other on the the bases of whether the regulatory environment is conducive enough for business operations to be carried out as well as the protection of property rights.

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Background of Cameroon

For those who are interested in the doing business in Cameroon, it is necessary for you to have a background of the country. Cameroon is located in the Sub-Saharan Africa region with a population of about 23,439, 189 people. The Gross National Index (GNI) per capita income is 1200 US dollar.

It is specifically in the west Central African region, bordered to the northeast by Chad, east by Central African Republic, South by Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and the West by Nigeria.

Cameroon offers many investment opportunities for foreigners and nationals who are looking for where to invest in the natural rich Central African region. The country is bilingual, using both English and French as official languages with a highly educated manpower always available in abundance. It has a strategic position in the region serving as a port entry point for two landlocked countries, Chad and Central African Republic. Its economic and political stability has made it one of the most prominent haven for foreign investors looking for a place to invest in Africa.

Compared to neighboring countries and other African countries, Gabon ranks 167, Congo 179, Equatorial Guinea 173 while Ghana ranks 120. From the statistics, it shows that it is easier to do business in Cameroon when compared with its neighbors Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Gabon.

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Starting a Business in Cameroon

Starting a company in Cameroon is easier than what is said. As I said above, it depends on the agent or consultant you meet. At times it becomes easier when you meet a business development agent who will walk you through the various stages. Most of them understand the terrain and can help you reduce the cost of registering a company in Cameroon. Our business development agents can help you carry such activities with ease helping you to save some amount of money which would have been wasted on unscrupulous agents.

Registering a Business in Cameroon

Registering a business in Cameroon can depend a lot on the region or city where you want to register. Many of the agents don’t know this or know and hide it from their clients. For instance, to register a business in Douala will be more expensive than registering elsewhere in the country. But do you know that you can register your business anywhere in Cameroon and still carry out activities at your preferred location? Yeah, it is easy especially as taxes can now be paid online.

Registering a business in the two English speaking regions can be easy and cheap for business people who want to install in Cameroon. I am not saying you should not do so in other regions. What I am saying here is simple. The marketing forces of demand and supply helps in regulating such a situation.

In the English speaking part of Cameroon, they have the Common Law practice whereby all Lawyers are automatically Notary Publics. This is different in the French speaking part where Notary Publics are actually appointed by the government. With this, the number of notary publics in the English speaking regions are more leading to a high supply of their services which lowers their prices. That is why it may be cheap registering a company in that part of the country. Their fees are cheaper than those in Douala in particular.

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The Necessity of Agents & Consultants

However, what you need to know is that new entrants to the Cameroonian market will need to engage with local representatives who will provide them the necessary assistance and guidance on the Cameroon business environment. AfriStartup – Openhub can guide people interested in doing business in Cameroon understand the business environment, obtain market information as well as identify customers. Starting a business in Cameroon can be a challenge but with our help, you can conquer these challenges with ease.

Procedures of Registering a Company in Cameroon

For you to do business in Cameroon, you need to get your company registered. For a limited liability company (Sociétés à Responsabilité Limitée (SARL) [SARL]), the paid-in minimum capital requirement is XAF100,000 approximately 190 US Dollars. Incorporation can be done by one or more natural persons as well as corporate bodies.

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Also, a Limited Liability company registered in Cameroon can be managed by one or more managers. The manager(s) can be a non-shareholder or drawn from the list of shareholders.

For you to register a business in Cameroon, you need to know the various tax and business licenses that are necessary and obligatory. What you need to do will be that:

  • You have to register the company in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register (RCCM)

  • You need to obtain a business license which is generally called ‘Patent’. This is gotten from the Taxation Department yearly by paying an annual fee. New companies may apply for an exoneration from “Patent” if they wish. This is renewable once

  • You also need to obtain a tax identification number from the Department of Taxation

  • You need to register your employees alongside the company at the National Social Insurance Fund, CNPS as well as the Labour Office

In Cameroon, with the help of the Center for Business Creation Formalities (One-stop Shop), which are based in major cities to facilitate the creation process of businesses, it’s possible to create a company withing 72 hours. To be very sure, we always tell our clients one week because the 72 hours excludes the time you have to compile all the documents needed.

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Documents Required to Create a Company in Cameroon

The following documents need to be deposited by the company’s agent:

  • Company Memorandum and Articles of Association. This must carry fiscal stamps of the current year on each page. It costs XAF1000 per page.

  • Business premise location plan (this will help the company to be exonerated from paying the ‘Patent’ if they wish)

  • Non-conviction certificates for both nationals and foreigners who are shareholders

  • A sworn declaration or criminal record for those who will manage the company’s

  • Photocopy of marriage certificates in the case there is any

  • A declaration of regularity and conformity drawn up by a public notary and duly signed by shareholders. If not available, a notarial statement of subscription and payment can be used

After all the above has been fulfilled, the incorporation of the company has to be published in any of the authorized newspapers.

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Social Insurance Registration

The entrepreneur or business owner will have to register the company and its employees at the National Social Insurance Fund, CNPS (Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale). This enables them to acquire the social insurance registration number. The following is needed to have your company registered in the books of the National Social Insurance Fund (NSIF):

  • Tax Payer Identification Number

  • Company registration certificate

  • Company’s location map

If you want to know more about the tax code for Cameroon and other necessary documents, you can download the 2018 Cameroon General Tax Code and other official documents you may need.

Note that this article will be updated anytime there will be any changes. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any other information. Meanwhile you can drop a comment for discussion in the comment box below.


Kermann Lobga
Kermann Lobga
Content Writer / Blogger | Small Business Coach | Branding Expert | Entrepreneur| Dad Kermann Lobga is a copywriter, results-oriented digital marketing professional and an entrepreneur with more than 14 years of experience.

1 Comment

  1. […] The customs administration or the buyer can also withhold at the source taxes on purchases and imports that are destined to be resold. This advance tax payments can be 0.5%, 2%, 10%, 14%, 15.4% or 20% depending on the buyer or importer’s tax regime. Don’t hesitate to check out my post on How to Start a Business in Cameroon – What It Takes. […]

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