Doing Business In Cameroon

  1. Cameroon is ranked 161st out of 185 economies in Doing Business 2013. Its overall ranking decreased by 5 points compared to last year, reflecting declines in 8 out of 10 indicators.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2009), the top 3 obstacles to running a business in Cameroon are Practices of the Informal Sector, Tax Administration, and Access to Finance. 90.1% of firms in Cameroon compete against informal or unregistered firms compared to just 65% in the Africa region.
  3. The Investment Charter (Law No. 2002/004 of April 19, 2002) of Cameroon abolished several limitations to foreign equity ownership that had existed under previous regulations (that is, the small and medium enterprises [SME] regime). Thus, most of the primary sectors and all of the manufacturing sectors covered by the Investing Across Sectors indicators are now fully open to foreign capital participation.
  4. Cameroon’s economic freedom score is 51.8, making its economy the 135th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score is the same as last year, with declines in monetary freedom and trade freedom offset by gains in fiscal freedom and business freedom. Cameroon is ranked 29th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is lower than the regional average.*


Visa Information

Visas are required by all travellers and must be bought prior to arrival in the country. At Cameroonian embassies in neighbouring countries, visas are issued quickly for around US$60. Applications in Europe and the USA may require a confirmed flight ticket, hotel reservation and proof of funds for the trip (a copy of a recent bank statement should suffice).
Visa extensions
You can obtain visa extensions at the Ministry of Immigration in Yaoundé, where one photo plus CFA15,000 is required.
Visas for onward travel
Thirty-day visas for CAR (CFA35, 000), Chad (CFA30, 000), Congo (CFA70, 00), Equatorial Guinea (CFA37, 000), Gabon (CFA37, 000) and other nearby countries are available from embassies in Yaoundé.

Business Etiquette

Meeting Etiquette

Much of the information in the general etiquette section applies here.

It is important to use a person’s honorific title and surname when conversing. Government officials may be addressed as “Excellency” without using their surname.

Honorific and professional titles in French or English should be used in the appropriate area of the country.

Wait to be invited before moving to a first name basis.

Business cards are given without formal ritual.

Present and receive business cards with the right hand only or with both hands.

Present your card so it is readable to the recipient.Make a point of studying any business card you receive. It is a common practice to comment on some of the information or the card design.

Business Meetings

Meetings are not as private as those in Europe or North America may be used to. The room can actually be shared with other people or people may walk into a meeting half-way through and interrupt. One should not take this as a sign of disrespect or lack of seriousness; once the interruption is over things will get back on track. 

Agendas are really part of the Cameroonian business culture. If used they generally act as a starting point for discussions rather than a map. 
There is a formal nature to meetings in Cameroon. It is suggested that you not remove your suit jacket unless invited to do so, as this is seen as too casual. 

Business communication is relatively formal and follows rules of etiquette and protocol. It is rude to turn your back on someone who is senior to you, even if it is merely to shake hands with someone else. 
Cameroonians are expressive communicators who practice conversational overlap - when they think that they know what you are about to say, they will interrupt you to agree, disagree, or change the subject. Many Cameroonians use proverbs when speaking to enhance their communication. 

General Business Hours

Government offices are officially open from 7.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Businesses are open from 7.30am or 8am unt