Entrepreneurs wishing to do business in Cameroon must follow a number of steps before the actual opening of the doors of their company. Presently Cameroon has an economy based on oil and agricultural resources, and with the advent of globalization and modernization, Cameroon is very poorly represented in areas such as world trade, new technologies, online business etc.. To create a successful business in Cameroon, one must have sufficient knowledge of the economic and financial status of the country, as well as the various markets available locally because it is necessary to clearly identify the population’s needs and pains, and then make a business plan to meet and fulfill those needs.
It is obvious that the process for opening a business in Cameroon depends largely on the type of company we want to open, because the process for someone who wants to open a clothing shop, will not be the same as someone who wants to open a bank for example. But in general, the process of starting a business in Cameroon is long, tedious, and time consuming. It is also one of the reasons why the private sector is very underdeveloped. People wants to go out and start businesses, but the complicated legislation around business creation and those long processes are not encouraging. Although there are formal and published deadlines, the execution part of those deadlines are never respected.
The procedure can take 45 days and beyond, and this is simply too long. To better understand the extent of this delay, let compare it with the one in another African country like the Seychelles. There it takes 24 hours, no more, to create a business. The complexity of this procedure in Cameroon is that it is distributed. In fact it affects several jurisdictions that have different guardianships and contribute to prolong the delay.
Regarding the procedure itself, it depends on the legal structure adopted. The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) adopted in April 1997, a series of texts constituting the foundation for a modernized economic and common law to the countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). Among the documents signed, we have the Uniform Act on the right of Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Grouping, which enables the liberalization of economic activity, with strong legal guarantees.
In addition to acts of OHADA, the companies in Cameroon are also governed by the Civil Code and Law No. 90/031 of 10 August 1990 governing commercial activity in Cameroon. These texts thus permit the entrepreneurs to choose from various types of companies the one that suits the best the activity they want to start.
It was thus:
- The General Partnership (SNC: Société en Nom Collectif)
- Limited Partnership (SCS: Société en Commandite Simple)
- The Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Société Anonyme (SA)
- The Economic Interest Group (EIG)
The difficulties here may be encountered at several levels:
As we said above, it is expensive, and very dispersed. Thus you really need to know where you are going and what you really want to do because it requires a lot of eagerness, desire and patience. Organizations such as the CFE (Centre Camerounais de Formalités des Entreprises) may also be a great help; Established in 1994, CFE is a private organization supporting the creation and development of companies in Cameroon. It assists project sponsors and sponsors and mentors young companies in all phases of their corporate life.
- Implementation, Business Culture
Many people remain skeptical about the future of business in Cameroon and are reluctant to invest. It is clear that as in any market, there are always risks of failure, but this should not take precedence over your desire to contribute to the enhancement of the image of Cameroon’s economy and your need to create a company that will change the lives of many people. Of course we need to deepen our market study and pick some promising sectors of the market. Then we need to associate global business best practices with the business culture “Made in Cameroon.”
Like the whole Africa, there are many opportunities in Cameroon, because they needs are unresolved or resolved in half. And to compete with the world, we need to take more action. It is time for us to wake up as an African, and strive for a sustainable development of our dear and beautiful continent.