Investments in Cameroon are governed by several texts. It is possible to elucidate in a non-exhaustive way:
Law No. 2002/004 of April 19, 2002, amended by Law No. 2004/020 of 22 July 2004 and by Ordinance No. 2009/01 of 13 May 2009 relating to the Investment Charter: this Law sets out the framework for promoting investments in accordance with the overall development strategy aimed at improving, sustaining growth, job creation in all sectors and the social well-being of populations. It also defines the respective roles of the state and the private sector in economic matters;
Law No. 2006/016 of December 2006 relating to the fiscal regime for public-private partnership contracts: this law provides tax facilities to businesses in the context of the implementation of major infrastructure projects in partnership with a public entity;
The implementation of this law is framed by regulatory instruments, including:
Law No. 2013/011 of 16 December 2013 governing economic zones in the Republic of Cameroon: this law sets out the general framework for the creation, development and management of economic zones, as well as the admission procedures for companies wishing to settle therein. It is a tool to encourage and/or promote investment, exports, competitiveness, employment, economic growth and land use;
Ordinance No. 90/001 of 29 January 1990 relating to the Industrial Free Zone regime, ratified by Law 90/023 of 10 August 1990: this law offers tax and customs benefits to exports (including exemption from tariffs on exported processed products) and imports (particularly exemption from import duties and customs duties on products destined for processing);
The law of 25 April 2019, on the new oil code: this law aims to promote oil operations throughout Cameroon. It sets out the modalities for the exploration, research, exploitation and transport of hydrocarbons, determines the legal, tax and customs and foreign exchange regime of oil operations, and sets the duties and obligations related to oil operations;
Law No. 2016/017 of December 14, 2016 relating to Mining Code: This law governs mining activities and promotes investment in the mining sector in the Republic of Cameroon. It aims to promote and encourage the research and exploitation of the mineral resources necessary for Cameroon’s economic and social development and the fight against poverty;
Law No. 2012/006 of April 19, 2012 relating to The Cameroon Gas Code: This law governs the downstream gas sector, which includes, among others, the transport, distribution, processing, storage, import, export and sale of natural gas and its derivatives on the national territory. The aim of the law is to promote the development of the downstream gas sector in Cameroon.
Governed by law 2013/004 of 18 April 2013 laying down incentives for private investment in the Republic of Cameroon, these incentives provide the opportunity for local and foreign investors to access indiscriminately, for the benefit of tax, financial and administrative incentives.
There are two types of incentives available to investors, notably:
During the installation phase (5 years) the investor benefits from the following exemptions:
During the operating phase (10 years) the investor can also benefit from exemptions or discounts:
Setting up a specific visa that the foreign investor can easily obtain on a simple request from the IPA
The Operationalization of Investor reception desks at Cameroon’s International Airports
The Operationalization of the investors one-stop-shop at the two (02) investment promotion bodies (IPA and APME).
The right to open and operate in the Republic of Cameroon and abroad in local currency and currency accounts
The right to freely cash and hold funds acquired or borrowed abroad and to dispose of them freely
The right to freely transfer dividends and proceeds from share sale and to pay non-resident suppliers
Applies at two levels:
Specific incentives are given to companies that invest to achieve the following priority objectives:
Specific incentives here include:
These are companies engaged in an investment programme aimed at expanding production, renewing its assets, or increasing its performance. Earnings duration can reach 05 years:
However, it should be noted that this Act does not apply to investments in sectors that are governed by specific codes, such as oil, gas, mining, and PPPs.
The law of 25 April 2019 governing the new oil code in force in Cameroon, grants incentives of all kinds. These incentives help mitigate the risks investors take in the oil sector and improve the economy of their projects.
Taxwise, this oil code offers tax consolidation measures, periods of tax exemptions, a tax rate reduced to 35%, incentives to acquire seismic data, exemption from the payment of signing bonuses, etc. The text also specifies that specific investment programmes aimed at increasing production, such as tertiary recovery, can benefit from incentives.
Incentives in Law No. 2016/017 of 14 December 2016 under Mining Code have been improved to promote the sector in Cameroon. Important tax and customs benefits are offered to research or mining companies, including exemption from the patent, free registration of company deeds, VAT exemption on local purchases and imports of mining equipment and equipment on the mining list, admission to the temporary customs regime for mining equipment and machinery, etc. This code also offers foreign exchange guarantees for foreign investors and workers in this sector. Besides, it provides two mechanisms that could encourage Cameroonians to become more involved and to develop industrialization in this area, including the obligation of the Cameroonian legal society to hold at least 51% of national shares and the state’s expressed guarantee of the availability of raw materials for local processing companies of mineral substances from artisanal and/or semi-mechanical exploitation.