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


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.

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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BMI View: Foreign investors in Cameroon face a number of operational challenges as a result of the high-risk crime and security environment. Notable risks include high crime levels, a corrupt and unreliable police force and the prevalence of criminal gangs, which translates into high foreign worker vulnerability due to criminal preferences for targeting wealthy Westerners. Firms pay considerable sums for private security in order to reduce the likelihood of damaged or stolen goods and property, attacks on workers and other criminal activity. Additional threats, such as the presence of Nigerian-based Islamist...

Cameroon Labour Market

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BMI View: Risks stemming from the labour market are low relative to other risk pillars for businesses operating in Cameroon. Though Cameroon's educational system ranks poorly from a global perspective, it performs above the regional average overall and this is underlined by the widespread access to primary, secondary and tertiary education, a steady increase in public expenditure on education and support from international donors such as the World Bank. The workforce displays a relatively high productivity rate which mitigates the need to hire additional workers. In addition, the minimum wage structure remains low in regional and global comparison and the hiring and firing practices are comparatively strong, which goes some way in...

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. Meanwhile, 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 33.9...

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)

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...

Cameroon Autos

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Growing infrastructure spending will lead to a positive growth outlook for CV sales, while robust private consumption and a developing middle class will be the main drivers of growth of passenger vehicle sales.

Commercial Vehicles To Outperform Passenger Vehicles
Cameroon Vehicle Fleet Size By Segment, Units
e/f=BMI estimate/forecast. Source: BMI/Institut National de la Statistique
Key Views
* Robust private consumption and a developing middle class will benefit the passenger vehicle...

Cameroon Food & Drink

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BMI View: Cameroon's food and drink industry will experience positive growth over our forecast period on the back of an emerging middle class and rising adoption of the mass grocery retail sector. Over the long term, favourable demographic trends and economic stability will drive growth in the sector.

Food and Drink Spending
f = BMI forecast. Source: BMI, national statistics

Key Trends & Industry Developments

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Cameroon Infrastructure

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BMI View: Cameroon's construction industry will record strong growth throughout our forecast period as the government directs substantial expenditure towards tackling its infrastructure deficit and foreign direct investment flows into the market. Upgrades to transport and power infrastructure will be the key drivers of growth during this period as Cameroon works to improve the overall ease of doing business in the country. Posing a downside risk to our outlook are potential threats to political stability, which could see investors becoming more cautious when operating in the market.

Forecast & Industry Developments

  • We are maintaining our forecast for 9.4% real growth in 2016. The market will...

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: With a relative abundance of high grade mineral resources, Cameroon boasts attractive mining potential. Foreign investment has picked up over the past five years, but the collapse in metals prices slowed the progress of a number of big iron ore and bauxite projects. These projects will come online in the coming years, and Cameroon will play an increasingly important role in African iron ore production over the medium term. Government support to the sector and a solid pipeline of infrastructure investment will also help the development of mining production.

Latest Developments & Structural Trends

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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.

Headline Forecasts (Cameroon 2014-2020)

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.


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's improving economies, dynamic mobile markets and progressive regulatory regimes mark them out as investment destinations with only moderate levels of risk. However, Gabon's mobile market is saturated and consolidation is underway; price competition may also now intensify and operators therefore need to focus on services - rather than infrastructure - as a way of differentiating their offering customers. 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

Latest Cameroon Articles

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  • Palm oil prices will remain supported and trade within the MYR2,350-2,800/t...

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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