With an area of 475,442 km2, Cameroon is located in the heart of Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea.
Opened on 600 km of coast with the Atlantic and sharing to the west along the border with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Cameroon is part of the Central African Countries and is bounded to the east by 5 (five) countries of this vast economic zone (Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). It is, therefore, a privileged strategic crossroads between Central and West Africa.
This exceptional geographical position is reinforced by the cultural proximity to the English-speaking (Nigeria) and French-speaking (Central Africa) communities, which stems from the broad knowledge of English and French, its official languages.
Its membership in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and intra-community trade allow Cameroon to benefit from an estimated market of more than 300,000,000 consumers, according to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
The desire of the State of Cameroon to become an emerging country by 2035 translates into:
- Structural reforms of the economy and public finances that began in the 1990s;
- Putting in place a favourable framework and incentive for businesses;
- Developing the human capital through the promotion of training and capacity building;
- Prioritizing investments in infrastructure and production sectors;
- creating and making use of new sources of growth by creating competitiveness poles;
- The ongoing need to accelerate economic growth to improve people’s well-being and meet international commitments.
Despite the country’s security challenges, the Cameroonian government has managed to keep its economy stable; making Cameroon the most resilient country in Central Africa.
Cameroon’s considerable natural resources (climates, land, soils and ecosystems, which is why it is called “Africa in miniature”) are undeniable assets in the promotion of private investment. Cameroon has the following advantages:
- 17 million hectares of exploitable forests, making Cameroon the second largest forest in Africa. In this area, 9.7 million hectares of land is arable and only 19.5% are occupied (approximately 1.9 million hectares);
- A dynamic population estimated at 23.25 million in 2017, 75% of whom are young people under the age of 25;
- Sustained economic growth, with an average annual growth rate of about 4% since 2013;
- Reforms to improve the business climate and promote private investment;
- A diversified economy.
The desire to improve the attractiveness of the Cameroon destination for investors has led to:
- The creation of entities dedicated to improving the attractiveness of the Destination Cameroon, such as the Investment Promotion Agency, the Competitiveness Regulatory Council, the Cameroon Business Forum, the Business Integration Centres, the Foreign Trade One-Stop Offices, etc.;
- The organisation of international meetings such as the International Economic Conference in Yaounde on 17 and 18 May 2016, which enabled the government, local and regional authorities and private businessmen to present their projects to donors;
- The organization of the Cameroon Investment Forum (CIF) by the Investment Promotion Agency, with an investment market;
- Strengthening good governance and transparency in the management of public finances through the creation of supervisory institutions such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Supreme State Control, the Audit Court, the National Agency for Financial Investigation (ANIF), etc.
Actions to promote private initiative in Cameroon have multiplied. The potential of Cameroon’s economic market and investment opportunities have been highlighted by the liberalization of certain sectors of activity such as telecommunications, energy, transport and the promotion of priority sectors such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, social housing, environmental protection, etc. This liberalization has led to the emergence of private operators in sectors such as mobile telephony, ICT, electricity generation, water distribution, distribution of oil and gas products, etc.
This desire to develop a liberal economy has been achieved by:
- The establishment of several decisive institutions such as the Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) established by Decree No. 2005/310 of 1 September 2005, the SME Promotion Agency (APME), the Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises (CB-SME) and the Agency for Standards and Quality (ANOR), among others, provide decisive support for the deployment and performance of local and foreign companies;
- The signing of various legal instruments with specific incentives for investment projects that help achieve the government’s priority objectives. These include the law of 18 April 2013 laying down incentives for private investment in the Republic of Cameroon and its various executive orders, including the order of 3 July 2014 on the composition of the application file to benefit from the benefits provided by the law of 18. April 2013;
- The promotion of programmes to strengthen entrepreneurship in general, especially among young people, such as the Youth Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme, launched by the Cameroon SME Promotion Agency (APME) in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
All these assets among others make Cameroon the leading country of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the engine of integration in Central Africa and a “good risk” for foreign investors.