Cameroon

In-depth country-focused analysis on Cameroon's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight

Cameroon

Cameroon has a strong agricultural sector, with commercial cultivation of coffee, sugar, tobacco, bananas, cocoa, rubber and tea. Faltering oil production and a sharp decline in global crude oil prices will cause Cameroon's current account deficit to widen over the coming years. Instability may spread to the country’s economically dominant south as Nigeria-based Boko Haram continues to launch attacks in northern Cameroon.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Cameroon, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on eight of Cameroon’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our results-proven research teams. Our aim is to keep you ahead of the curve, so you can feel confident doing business in Cameroon.

Country Risk

Cameroon Country Risk

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Core Views

  • Economic expansion in Cameroon is accelerating, and we predict that real GDP grow will be 4.6% in 2014. The country's economy will outperform its Central African peers, averaging 4.8% growth between 2014 and 2018.

  • Faltering oil production and high import demand will cause Cameroon's current account deficit to widen to 6.0% in 2014. We expect the shortfall to remain relatively stable over the coming years.

  • High spending on capital projects will keep the country's fiscal deficit wide. The shortfall could expand rapidly if the government is unable to control spending on costly fuel subsidies.

  • The Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale cut its core interest rate by 250 basis points to 3.25%. While we do not expect that the cut will have a significant impact on the regional economy, further loosening is likely in...

Cameroon Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Cameroon Operational Risk

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BMI View: Risks stemming from the labour market are low for businesses operating in Cameroon. Literacy and numeracy rates are high compared to regional averages, and the increasingly successful secondary and tertiary education system is producing more sophisticated and well-qualified workers. However, drawbacks include the country's low life expectancy, which limits worker productivity, as well as the costs associated with employing labour and bringing in foreign workers. We give Cameroon a score of 43.7 out of 100 for Labour Market Risk, placing it 12th regionally, out of 48 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) states.

From a regional perspective Cameroon has one of the best education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, excelling in both secondary and tertiary education. Public expenditure on secondary education is the second highest in the region, which has widened access for students in rural areas...

Cameroon Crime & Security

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Businesses operating in Cameroon face a number of operational challenges due to the country's crime and security environment. Notable risks include high crime, a corrupt and unreliable police force, and a prevalence of criminal gangs, translating into high foreign worker vulnerability due to criminal preferences for targeting expatriates. Firms therefore pay considerable sums of money for private security in order to diminish the likelihood of damaged or stolen goods and property, attacks on workers, and other types of crime. Businesses also face a variety of terrorist threats, particularly in the northern part of the country, which has adversely affected cross-border trade and created operational challenges for companies in insecure areas. Although Cameroon has a low risk for interstate conflict, instability along its borders has also hurt firms by increasing the likelihood of violence or theft and by interrupting trade. These factors merited Cameroon a Crime and...

Cameroon Labour Market

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There is a low level of risk for businesses in Cameroon's labour market. The country offers advantages such as a high literacy and numeracy rate compared with regional averages and an increasingly successful secondary and tertiary education system that produces more sophisticated and well-qualified workers. However, sources of risk persist in the form of low life expectancy - which limits worker productivity - and moderate costs of labour, with limited access to foreign workers. As a result, we award Cameroon a score of 41.7 out of 100 for Labour Market Risk, placing it eigth regionally, higher than Nigeria (10 th), Gabon (21 st), and the Republic of the Congo (28 th).

Arguably Cameroon's largest labour asset is its educational attainment, which has enabled the country to enjoy sustained improvements in both male and female literacy rates and acquire more sophisticated skills for local firms. Although Cameroon...

Cameroon Logistics

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BMI View: Cameroon's location at the meeting of three trans-African highways, and its relatively good port sector, means the country has the potential to play a major regional logistics role. At the moment, however, supply chain efficiency is limited by the quality of the internal transport network, with unpaved roads and a lack of regional rail connections. The utilities infrastructure reflects Cameroon's status as a developing state, and investors should expect to encounter problems including low internet penetration rates and frequent power outages that inhibit business operations and slow trade flows. Long and difficult bureaucratic and customs procedures further limit speed of trading and increase import and export costs. We give Cameroon an overall score of 35.1 out of 100 for its Logistics Risk in our Logistics Risk Index, ranking it 20th out of 48 states in the region.

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Cameroon Trade & Investment

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BMI View: The main risks to foreign investors in Cameroon stem from the prevalence of corruption and the country's inefficient bureaucracy. The judicial system lacks transparency and businesses are at risk of impartial treatment in settling disputes or enforcing contracts. Other important procedures for setting up businesses such as registering property and obtaining construction permits are highly time-consuming, adding to overall costs for businesses. Despite these risks, Cameroon's wealth of natural resources continues to attract investment and economic growth is supported by government spending and low inflation. However, as domestic savings decrease and the current account deficit deepens, investment barriers will become more apparent. Cameroon therefore receives a score of 28.1 out of 100 in our Trade and Investment Risk index, placing it 36th...

Cameroon Industry Coverage (10)

Agribusiness

Cameroon Agribusiness

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BMI View: Cocoa remains Cameroon's most important cash crop. With higher prices encouraging farmers to invest in inputs, we are forecasting production to reach 225,000 tonnes in 2014/15 and consumption to close the year at 13,900 tonnes. Over the remainder of our forecast period to 2018/19 we believe improved production techniques will give cocoa farmers new opportunities to sell greater quantities of beans on international markets. More broadly, we see growth in the production and consumption of all key soft commodities in Cameroon, with the exception of the coffee market. With lower prices worldwide on the back of increasing global supply surpluses, we believe coffee growers will be...

Autos

Cameroon Autos

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BMI View: We expect strong growth of 7.1% in Cameroon's vehicle market in 2016 reaching 6,058 units. Commercial vehicle sales (7.4%) will outperform the passenger vehicle sales (6.8%) as the autos market continues to benefit from robust economic growth as a result of the government's packed infrastructure projects pipeline as well as a stable inflationary outlook.

Vehicle Sales
(2014-2020)
e/f = BMI estimate/...

Food & Drink

Cameroon Food & Drink

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BMI View: We hold a positive consumer outlook for Cameroon as private consumption will be a key driver of economic growth, which is set to be a regional outperformer. The food and drink industry will be a significant benefactor from strong private consumption growth as consumers increase per capita expenditure within the sector.

Food And Drink Spending
(2013-2020)
f = BMI forecast. Source: BMI, national statistics

Key Trends & Industry Developments...

Infrastructure

Cameroon Infrastructure

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BMI View: In 2016 the construction industry in Cameroon will record 9.4% growth in real terms, buoyed by significant investment from both the government and international firms into key infrastructure development. Substantial funding will be directed towards developing freight logistics networks and the energy sector, as both will be critical in supporting overall economic growth. However, while Cameroon is an attractive business environment, political tension in the region could weigh on investor confidence in the coming years.

Forecast & Industry Developments

  • We...

Mining

Cameroon Mining

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BMI View: Central Africa is starting to leverage its considerable mineral wealth as mining activity expands across the region, in countries such as the DRC, Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon. The region's considerable and largely untapped deposits and high grades are an attractive proposition for international mining group, particularly as other locations suffer falling grades and higher operating costs. We see significant potential for growth in the extraction of copper, gold, iron ore and other minerals, however, political risks and a lack of adequate infrastructure continue to present considerable challenges to operators in the region.

Striking While The Iron (Or Copper) Is Hot
DRC - Gold & Copper Output
...

Cameroon Mining

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BMI View: Colombia's mining sector will experience solid growth, as vast mineral reserves, low operating costs and an improving business environment attract increasing investment over the coming years.

Colombia Mining Industry Value Forecast (2014-2020)
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f ...

Oil & Gas

Cameroon Oil & Gas

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BMI View: With an FID on Golar LNG and a stronger-than-expected oil production growth, Cameroon benefited from an upward revision in both oil and gas production over our forecast period. In addition, the country will now become an LNG net exporter from 2017 onward, an important tool for exports diversification, notably after the large oil price drop over the past year. Nevertheless, we maintain that Cameroon remains a modest oil and gas producer and more exploration will need to take place to boost its long-term prospects further.

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Headline Forecasts (Cameroon 2014-2020)

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Cameroon Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View : Despite falling oil prices, Cameroon's economy is expected to continue on a robust growth trajectory over the next few years, which will benefit consumer spending, the main driver of pharmaceutical market growth. Moreover, global aid funds and the eventual implementation of universal health coverage schemes will continue to support the development of the healthcare sector. However, downside political risks in the region have increased, while affordability levels will remain low, meaning advances in the sector will likely face renewed operational challenges in the years ahead.

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Telecommunications

Cameroon Telecommunications

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BMI View: The Q1 2016 West and Central Africa report analyses latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments and trends in the telecommunications market in seven countries: Cameroon, Cote d' Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. Strong growth over the past few years has resulted in more saturated markets, at least in terms of the number of mobile telephony subscriptions. However, there is considerable long term value to be gleaned from these markets and, moving towards 2019 and beyond, regional mobile operators will increasingly shift towards advanced data services to sustain and build on revenue generation. The efforts of operators will be complemented by the uptake of low-cost smartphones and mobile devices along with access to cheap and more reliable international bandwidth connectivity via submarine cables.

Regional Markets To Show Strong...

Cameroon Telecommunications

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BMI View : Cameroon and Gabon score relatively highly in our Risk/Reward Index for Sub-Saharan Africa. Their improving economies, dynamic mobile markets and progressive regulatory regimes mark them out as modestly risky investment destinations. Gabon is saturated, however, and consolidation is underway; price competition may now intensify, but operators need to focus on services - rather than infrastructure - as a differentiator. In Cameroon, regulator ART is actively encouraging investment in fibre that would allow operators to lower operating costs and invest in advanced services.

Cameroon & Gabon Mobile Market Forecasts
2014-2020
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Latest Cameroon Articles

  • We have upgraded our oil price forecast this month with markets having pric...

  • In this first instalment of a region-wide look at Sub-Saharan Africa's bala...

  • CBOT wheat prices will remain on the upside over the remainder of 2016, sup...

Latest Cameroon Blogs

  • BMI Research has just published a special report, Top 10 Political Successi...

Latest Cameroon Podcasts

  • Huge media attention and investment has made Sub-Saharan Africa's tele...

  • Africa's telecommunications sector has grown by leaps and bounds in re...

  • The increasingly important economic relationship between Asia and Sub-...

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