Buying and Selling

flag Cameroon Cameroon: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier

 

Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
International Economic Cooperation
Cameroon is open to a large extent to international trade. It is a member of the Commonwealth as well as that of the Franc Zone. In order to facilitate trade relations, these countries have signed treaties and agreements to simplify trade. In this way Cameroon has signed agreement with the European Union.

It should also be noted that Cameroon also has trade agreements with countries such as Tunisia, Nigeria and China.

Non Tariff Barriers
There are three categories of imported products: free products which do not incur any restriction, products requiring a technical visa or a certificate of conformity from a competent Ministry (Health, Security....) and products which are prohibited in the entire territory of Cameroon. However, every import must be controlled before its loading. This control relates to quality, quantity and price.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Cameroon is part of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) that has the following countries as its members : Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Chad. Countries belonging to the CEMAC are acquitted of duties and taxes as defined in the Common Exterior Tariff (TEC), whatever may be the entry point in the CEMAC. Custom duty rates are applicable according to the category of the imported product :
- primary necessary goods : category I, 0%
- raw materials and equipment goods : category II, 10%
- Intermediary and miscellaneous goods : category III, 20%
- Fast-moving consumer goods : category IV, 30%.
To determine the category of your product, you can consult the Customs Nomenclature in force in Cameroon (conforming to the Harmonized System).


Customs Classification
Cameroon is part of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) that has the following countries as its members : Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Chad. Countries belonging to the CEMAC are acquitted of duties and taxes as defined in the Common Exterior Tariff (TEC), whatever may be the entry point in the CEMAC.

Custom duty rates are applicable according to the category of the imported product :

- primary necessary goods : category I, 0%
- raw materials and equipment goods : category II, 10%
- Intermediary and miscellaneous goods : category III, 20%
- Fast-moving consumer goods : category IV, 30%.

To determine the category of your product, you can consult the Customs Nomenclature in force in Cameroon (conforming to the Harmonized System).

Import Procedures
All the import procedures are gathered at the Guichet unique des opérations du commerce extérieur (GUCE). This one-stop-shop gathers all the services involved in the import process. Procedures for importing and exporting goods to Cameroon include formalities for obtaining the status of importer/exporter involving registration in the Trade and Personal Property Credit Register, obtaining the trader card and professional exporter/importer card.
The import process involves five steps:

  • prior export request;
  • securing the certificate of origin;
  • Inspection before shipment;
  • technical procedures;
  • import domiciliation.

The procedure for import customs clearance involves six main steps:

  • goods bonding
  • filing of the goods accounting
  • declaration recording
  • inspection
  • duty settlement
  • goods collection

For more information, please visit the website of Cameroonian Customs.

 
 
For Further Information
Cameroon Customs
Business Portal for Africa

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Cameroon has a large youth population, with 62.38% of the populace under the age of 25 (CIA World Factbook, 2020 est.). In spite of many economic challenges, consumers in Cameroon have enjoyed increased annual disposable incomes in recent years, resulting in rising consumer expenditure (in 2021 the per capita GDP was estimated at USD 1.650 – IMF). While still struggling with poverty (especially in rural areas), the country has a growing urban middle class that has benefited from an increased number of young professionals. The retail sector is becoming more formal and modern.
Cameroon’s economy suffers from factors such as stagnant per capita income and relatively inequitable distribution of income. The Government of Cameroon provides subsidies for electricity, food, and fuel. Though these contributions helped many households, at the same time they had their toll on the federal budget and diverted funds from education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.
Consumer Behaviour
Price and accessibility are the main drivers for the majority of Cameroonian consumers, though a smaller segment of wealthier consumers also takes into account brand recognition and quality.
As the family is central in Cameroonians’ life, advertising campaigns centred on the family image are likely to have a stronger impact. Out-of-home advertisement could be an effective way of advertising.
Whereas in the past consumers tended to consider foreign products better in term of quality and reliability, products made in Cameroon are growing popular, especially in the agro and food sector. Cameroon is the country in Central and Western Africa where more alcohol is consumed. Durable products such as fridges and microwave ovens are becoming more common in urban areas. The basic Cameroonian diet consists of starchy foods and cereals. Even though Cameroon has a large variety of food products as compared to its neighbouring central-African countries, it has a deficit in meat products such as cattle or fishing. The demand for drinks is principally that for beer and in second place for fizzy drinks. Since the devaluation in 1994, the consumption of sweetened condensed milk, milk powder and yoghurt has risen faster than the demographic rate.
Consumers Associations
Citizens Association for the Protection of Collective Rights (ACDIC)
Cameroonian Consumer League (LCC)
Main Advertising Agencies
Mc Cann Eriksson. International Communications Group
Proximity

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
In 1996, the Cameroon government conceded control of the state-owned Railways (REGIFERCAM). The activities of the Railways were heavy on the state budget. This privatization allowed the Railways to play an important role in the national economy as well as in the transport of goods.
Market share
The distribution market in Cameroon is mainly dominated by the local chain stores Dovv and Santa Lucia.
More recently, several French distribution chains have invested:

  • Casino has Casino supermarkets and a Leader Price store. Monoprix, on the other hand, left the market.
  • Carrefour has been in a partnership with the CFAO Group to build a 15,000 m² shopping centre that will open in 2021.
  • Super U

The Indian distributor Mahima, with its two general stores, continues to strengthen its positions in the Cameroonian market, following the wholesaler business model.

Retail Sector Organisations
Cameroon railway transport

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E-commerce

Internet access
Internet access has been rapidly increasing in Cameroon. Over the last five years, the number of users more than doubled, making Cameroon one of the top three African countries with the highest growth in internet access. In 2017, 23.2% of the population was connected to the internet. In 2017, 16.9% of households in the country had a computer, and 21.7%  had Internet access at home. Fixed broadband subscriptions are virtually nonexistent, given that there were 0.1 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. That number is much higher when it comes to mobile broadband subscriptions (17.7 per 100 inhabitants). There are occasional signal blocks in the country's Anglophone regions, which has resulted in protests against political and economic discrimination from the majority French-speaking government.
E-commerce market
E-commerce in Cameroon is growing at an exponential pace, and even though it is still behind other African countries like Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, it is expected to catch up with other nations. There are no official figures on e-commerce revenues. The market has grown nearly tenfold in the past three years, and it has also benefited from the growth of internet penetration rate - particularly among those using mobile devices to access the internet - which inevitably led to a significant increase of transactions. E-commerce faces two main challenges in Cameroon. The first one is logistics, given that there isn’t a fixed address system in the country, which complicates the delivery process. The other one is payment, as the population tends not to disclose their credit card information online, and given that there's a very low bank account penetration rate in the country, cash remains the preferred payment method. The limited local banking systems hinder small businesses in Africa from expanding their trade beyond national borders. However, Cameroon is expected to boost e-commerce with a new Commonwealth strategy. The assistance from the Commonwealth aims to harness its digital competencies and to grow its participation in the digital trade in Africa. Most online shoppers in Cameroon are between 25 and 34 years old, and men (61%) shop online more than women. Some of the most popular e-commerce websites in Cameroon include jumia.cm, kaymu.cm, lamudi.cm, cdiscount.cm, and lazoto.com.cm.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
The transport in Cameroon is mostly by trucks. Thus, a difference is seen among the road vehicles and the lorry-trailer combinations. The  road vehicles have the driver's cabin and the truck box on the same frame. On the other hand, the lorry-truck vehicles are assembled vehicles; a road tractor and a tractor-trailer for example. The transport of goods is also undertaken by the rail thanks to the Camrail company. But the poor state of the tracks and the small number of working lines are a handicap for Rail transport.
Ports
Autonomous Port Organizations
Airports
International Airport of Douala
International Airport of Garoua
Sea Transport Organisations
National Port Authority
Air Transport Organisations
The National Airlines Company
Road Transport Organisations
Directorate of Road Transport of the Cameroon Ministry of Transport
Decentralized Services Department of the Cameroon Ministry of Transport
Rail Transport Organisations
The Cameroon Railway Company

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The Cameroonian industry is essentially based on the Heavy Industries. Production is oriented towards oil-producing products, refinement, aluminum production, food-processing, textiles, wood industry and ship repairing.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Africa One - Cameroonian business directory
Africannuaire - Cameroonian business directory
Afrikta - Cameroonian business directory
Business list - Cameroonian business directory
Cameroon Web - Cameroon's business directory
Expat.com - Cameroonian business directory
Search Cameroon - Cameroonian business directory
 

To search directories by industry in Cameroon, check out our service Business Directories.

 
Professional Associations by Sector
18 professional associations listed for Cameroon.
 
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Cameroon Chamber of Commerce
General Professional Associations
Inter-Managerial Group of Cameroon
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022