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Setting up a business in Cameroon

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Do you wish to set up a business in Cameroon? Find out, in this article, how to proceed to create your company in the country.

Cameroon is an interesting country to invest in thanks to its numerous natural resources. Moreover, the government of Cameroon greatly encourages foreign investment in many sectors such as transports, agribusiness, tourism and rural development so as to boost its economy. In fact, many programs have been set up so as to facilitate the creation of small, medium and large enterprises in the country, as well as to prevent corruption.

Pros and cons

Cameroon has free zones which can be exported by export business companies. These companies are eligible to many benefits such as exemption from permit requirements, the ability to open foreign currency bank accounts, the right to transfer up to 75% of profits abroad, tax exemptions for 10 years as from the beginning of the company's activities, an overall 15% tax rate on profits as from the 11th year. Moreover, Cameroon is famous for its cheap labor force as well as its numerous natural resources.

However, procedures regarding the setting up of a business in the country are quite complex and costly.

 Good to know:

Anyone is free to set up a business in Cameroon. Moreover, foreigners are allowed to own 100% of a company's shares.

Procedures to create a SPC

A Sole Proprietorship Company (SPC) in Cameroon is referred to as an establishment. Below are the steps to follow towards setting up a sole proprietorship company in the country:

Registration in the commercial register:

You are required to register your business in the Commercial Court Registry. Procedures should not be lengthy. You will have to produce a copy of your identity card or birth certificate, a copy of your marriage certificate (for women), proof of address, a criminal record, your lease documents and the stamped application form obtained at the Tribunal of Commerce Registry. Fees amounting to some CFA 64,000 apply.

Tax registration:

You can apply for your taxpayer card at the Cameroonian Tax Center. Documents to be produced to the tax office are: a copy of your identity card, your Trade Registration, a business location plan and fees applied (some CFA 1,500).

CNPS, Labor Inspectorate and other authorities:

Once you have hired your first employee, you will have to report to the nearest CNPS office to obtain a registration application form. You will also have to produce your Commercial registration certificate, your business permit, your taxpayer's card, your business location plan, your company's temporary and permanent structure, as well as lease documents if you are renting the office premises. Note that these procedures are free of charge.

You also have to register your company with the nearest labor inspectorate office by producing a representation letter.

Procedures to create an LLC or PLC

To create a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Public Limited Company (PLC), you will need a minimum capital of CFA 1 million CFA or CFA 10 million respectively. Procedures regarding the setting up of the company are almost similar to those of the sole proprietorship company. However, the commercial registration process differs. You can either do it yourself or hire a notary. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • the company's name and initials
  • the company's legal status
  • details on the company's activities
  • the amount of the total capital invested (including the number of respective contributions)
  • the head office address (addresses of branches if applicable)
  • the company's activities' or your appointment's duration as agreed by the founder or by the company's status
  • business partners' identity documents and personal details, date and place of birth, nationality, date and place of marriage if applicable and any other information (particularly of those who are liable regarding the company's debts)
  • the company's executive members' and commissionaires identity, date and place of birth, address and contact information
  • any other particular legal measure.

To complete the trade registration, other documents may also be required, namely:

  • a certified copy of the company's statutes or founding act
  • the company's regularity and conformity declaration or a notarial deed for subscription and bank transfer
  • the certified list of managers, directors, officers or partners having been declared as personally responsible or have authority to bind the company or corporation for an indefinite period
  • a sworn and signed statement certifying the company is not subject to any prohibition by law. Procedures should be completed within 75 days following presentation of a clean criminal record or any other comparable document.
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  • Note that other permits may be required depending on the company's activities. You can seek all related information with competent authorities such as ministries, the Trade Register, the Labor Inspection office, etc.

 Useful links:

Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Crafts www.ccima.net
Cameroon SME Toolkit cameroun.smetoolkit.org
Doing business www.doingbusiness.org

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See also

Specific conditions apply to foreigners wishing to work in Cameroon. However, the country's labor market is quite open.
Douala, Cameroon's second major city, is more active than Yaoundé. It is therefore easier for foreigners to be hired there.
If you wish to work and settle in Cameroon, Yaoundé may be the ideal destination. Various jobs prospects are available there.
Doing an internship in Cameroon is an interesting way to discover another professional culture, especially an African one.
Like many African countries, Cameroon also has modern telecommunication technologies including land lines, mobile and internet networks.

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