Chapter

CAMEROON

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2000
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Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: June 1, 1996.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Cameroon is the CFA franc.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Exchange arrangement with no separate legal tenderThe CFA franc is pegged to the euro at the fixed rate of CFAF 100 per €0.1524. Exchange transactions in euros between the BEAC and commercial banks take place at the same rate. Buying and selling rates for certain other foreign currencies are also officially posted, with quotations based on the fixed rate for the euro and the rates in the Paris exchange market for the currencies concerned. The commission levied by commercial banks is freely set by each bank. However, such commission does not apply to government operations, transfers in settlement of imports covered by an import declaration domiciled with a bank, scheduled repayments of loans properly obtained, and travel allowance or representation expenses paid for official missions.
Exchange taxn.r.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketYes.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsBecause Cameroon is an Operations Account country, settlements with France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries are made in CFA francs, euros, or the currency of any other Operations Account country. Settlements with all other countries are usually made through correspondent banks in France in any of the currencies of those countries or in euros through foreign accounts in French francs.
Payment arrangements
Regional arrangementsAn Operations Account is maintained with the French Treasury that links Operations Account countries. All purchases or sales of foreign currencies or euros against CFA francs are ultimately settled through a debit or credit to the Operations Account.
Clearing agreementsThere are clearing arrangements in the context of the CEEAC.
Barter agreements and open accountsn.r.
Administration of controlExchange control is administered by the Directorate of Economic Controls and External Finance of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). Exchange transactions relating to all countries must be effected through authorized intermediaries (i.e., the Postal Administration and authorized banks). Exchange bureaus are also authorized to effect foreign exchange transactions.
International security restrictionsThere are no such restrictions under the legislation in force. However, in practice, decisions are taken in accordance with the resolutions of the international community (IMF, UN, etc.).
Payment arrearsn.a.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeResidents are free to hold, acquire, and dispose of gold jewelry in Cameroon. Approval of the Ministry of Mines, Water, and Energy (MMWE) is required to hold gold in any other form. Such approval is normally given only to industrial users, including jewelers. Newly mined gold must be declared to the MMWE, which authorizes either its exportation or its sale to domestic industrial users. Exports are made only to France.
Controls on external tradeImports and exports of gold require prior authorization of the MMWE and the MEF, although such authorization is seldom granted for imports. Exempt from this requirement are (1) imports and exports by or on behalf of the monetary authorities, and (2) imports and exports of manufactured articles containing a small quantity of gold (such as gold-filled or gold-plated articles). Both licensed and exempt imports of gold are subject to customs declaration.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyExports of all coins and banknotes are subject to a prior declaration.
Foreign currencyAll resident travelers, regardless of destination, must declare in writing all means of payment at their disposal at the time of departure. The reexportation of foreign banknotes is allowed up to the equivalent of CFAF 250,000; reexportation above this ceiling requires documentation showing either the importation of foreign banknotes or their purchase against other means of payment registered in the name of the traveler or through the use of deposits lodged in local banks.
On imports
Domestic currencyResident travelers are authorized to import into Cameroon a maximum of CFAF 300,000 to cover their initial expenses upon their return to Cameroon.
Foreign currencyYes.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedResidents are permitted to open foreign currency accounts at commercial banks.
Held domesticallyThe opening of foreign exchange accounts exclusively for use by enterprises in the strategic sector (petroleum), which are also allowed to maintain their accounts in a foreign currency, is subject to the prior authorization of the MEF.
Held abroadThe opening and maintenance of accounts abroad are forbidden.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyNo.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedOnly accounts of CFA francs convertible into foreign currency are permitted.
Domestic currency accountsThe regulations pertaining to nonresident accounts are based on those applied in France. Since the BEAC has suspended the repurchase of BEAC banknotes circulating outside its zone of issue, BEAC banknotes received by the foreign correspondents of authorized banks and mailed to the BEAC agency in Yaoundé (capital of Cameroon) may not be credited to foreign accounts in CFA francs.



Nonresidents are allowed to maintain bank accounts in euros. These accounts, held mainly by diplomatic missions, international institutions, and their nonresident employees, may be credited only with (1) proceeds of spot or forward sales of foreign currencies transferred from abroad by account owners; (2) transfers from other nonresident euro accounts; and (3) payments by residents in accordance with exchange regulations. These accounts may be debited only for (1) purchases of foreign currencies; (2) transfers to other nonresident euro accounts; and (3) payments to residents in accordance with exchange regulations. Nonresidents may not maintain accounts in CFA francs abroad or accounts in foreign currency in Cameroon.
Convertible into foreign currencySuch accounts may be credited and debited only in foreign currency. Prior authorization of the MEF is required.
Blocked accountsn.r.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsImport payments are made in accordance with the terms of the underlying contracts. However, advance payments (i.e., before the actual delivery of goods) are authorized up to 50% of the value of imports.
Minimum financing requirementsThere are no restrictions on import financing. The amounts to be transferred must correspond to those contained in the pertinent import declaration.
Advance payment requirementsUp to 50% of prefinancing is authorized; the balance is authorized only upon presentation of the pertinent trade documents.
Advance import depositsAdvance import deposits are permitted if stipulated by underlying contracts.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Domiciliation requirementsAll import transactions for domestic consumption and valued at more than CFAF 2 million must be domiciled with a licensed bank. Transactions involving goods in transit must be domiciled with a bank in the country of final destination.
Preshipment inspectionAll imports are subject to inspection by the Société générale de surveillance (SGS).
Letters of creditLCs are allowed but are optional.
Import licenses and other nontariff measuresImport licenses are almost totally abolished. Importers of more than CFAF 2 million are required to fill out an import declaration with the SGS. The importing of certain products, which are included on a list established each year by the Ministry of Industrial and Commercial Development (MINDIC), remains subject to licensing.
Positive listA list of products still subject to authorization is published annually by the MINDIC in the Programme générale des echanges.
Negative listCertain imports are prohibited for ecological, health, or safety reasons.
Open general licensesSuch licenses are available especially for long-term supply contracts.
Licenses with quotasQuotas are applicable to imports by container.
Import taxes and/or tariffsImport tariffs range from 5% to 30%. Import surcharges apply only to imports from countries outside the UDEAC.
Taxes collected through the exchange systemSurcharges apply only to imports from countries outside the UDEAC and to imports of maize meal and cement.
State import monopolyThere is a state import monopoly only for imports relating to sovereign expenditure (such as defense and security).
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsProceeds from exports to all countries must be repatriated within 30 days of the payment date stipulated in the sales contract. Oil companies are exempt from the repatriation requirement. However, waivers may be granted by the President of the Republic to companies of a strategic nature and representing the national interests.
Surrender requirementsExport proceeds must be surrendered within the eight-day period following repatriation.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirementsFor exports of fresh food products (vegetables, fruits), a health certificate is required before shipment.
Letters of creditn.r.
Guaranteesn.r.
DomiciliationExports to all countries are subject to domiciliation requirements for the appropriate documents. Export transactions valued at CFAF 2 million or more must be domiciled with an authorized bank.
Preshipment inspectionExports to all countries are subject to inspection by the SGS.
Export licensesLicenses are required for all exports valued at the equivalent of at least CFAF 2 million. Export licenses are issued by the MEF.
Without quotasYes.
Export taxesExport taxes established in the Budget Law are collected by the Directorate of Customs.
Other export taxesAll nonforestry export taxes were eliminated on July 1, 1999. An export tax of 17.5% is applied to timber, and a rate of 12.5% is applied to the log equivalent of processed woods.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments in excess of CFAF 2 million for invisibles to France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries require prior declaration and are subject to presentation of relevant invoices. Payments for invisibles related to trade follow the same regime as basic trade transactions, as do transfers of income accruing to nonresidents in the form of profits, dividends, and royalties.
Trade-related paymentsWith the exception of insurance expenses, agents may obtain authorization for the payment of all other trade-related expenses.
Prior approvalThe payment of such expenses is authorized upon presentation of invoices and related documents when the latter are not taken into account in the basic commercial contract.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related paymentsDistributed profits, dividends, and other interest paid by residents to nonresidents may be transferred.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsTransfers are authorized on the basis of conventions, contracts, minutes of annual meetings (as regards profits and dividends), and loan repayment schedules (as regards interest).
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travel
Prior approvalAuthorization is required for any acquisition of foreign currency by residents traveling to countries other than member countries of the franc zone.
Quantitative limitsThe limit on foreign exchange allowances for travelers was increased to $10,000 from $1,000 a person a trip. The number of trips allowed is no longer limited. Returning resident travelers are required to declare all means of payment in their possession upon arrival at customs and to surrender them within eight days.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Foreign workers’ wagesForeigners working in Cameroon are authorized to transfer up to 50% of their remuneration upon presentation of their pay slip and their most recent statement of income.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testLimits are determined on the basis of the supporting documents provided.
Credit card use abroad
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testLimits are determined on the basis of supporting documents provided.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsAll receipts from services and all income earned abroad must be collected within one month of the due date.
Surrender requirementsForeign currency receipts must be surrendered within one month of collection. Returning resident travelers are required to declare all means of payment in their possession upon arrival at customs and to surrender them within the following eight-day period.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsCapital transactions between Cameroon and France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries are free of exchange control. Outward capital transfers to all other countries require exchange control approval and are restricted. Inward capital transfers are free of controls, except for foreign direct investments and borrowing, which are subject to registration and authorization.
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase locally by nonresidentsTransactions are permitted, provided declaration is made to the MEF.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsThe issuing, advertising, or offering for sale of foreign securities in Cameroon requires prior authorization of the MEF and must subsequently be reported to it. Exempt from authorization, however, and subject only to a report after the fact, are operations in connection with shares similar to securities, when their issuing, advertising, or offering for sale in Cameroon has already been authorized. All foreign securities and titles embodying claims on nonresidents must be deposited with an authorized intermediary and are classified as foreign, whether they belong to residents or nonresidents.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
Bonds or other debt securitiesThe same regulations apply as for shares or other securities of a participating nature.
On money market instrumentsTransactions in money market instruments require authorization from the MEF.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On collective investment securities
Purchase locally by nonresidentsPrior authorization of the MEF is required.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsPrior declaration to the MEF is required.
Purchase abroad by residentsPrior authorization of the MEF is required.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsPrior declaration to the MEF is required.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsn.r.
Controls on credit operations
Commercial credits
By residents to nonresidentsLending abroad by natural and juridical persons, whether public or private, whose normal residence or registered office is in Cameroon, or by branches or subsidiaries in Cameroon of juridical persons whose registered office is abroad, requires prior authorization of the MEF and must subsequently be reported to it. The following are, however, exempt from prior authorization and require only a report: (1) loans constituting a direct investment abroad for which prior approval has been obtained, as indicated above; (2) loans directly connected with the rendering of services abroad by the persons or firms mentioned above, or with the financing of commercial transactions either between Cameroon and countries abroad or between foreign countries, in which these persons or firms take part; and (3) loans of up to CFAF 500,000, provided the maturity does not exceed two years and the rate of interest does not exceed 6% a year.
To residents from nonresidentsBorrowing abroad by natural and juridical persons, whether public or private, whose normal residence or registered office is in Cameroon, or by branches or subsidiaries in Cameroon of juridical persons whose registered office is abroad, requires prior authorization of the MEF and must subsequently be reported to it. The following are, however, exempt from this authorization and require only a report: (1) loans directly connected with the rendering of services abroad by the persons or firms mentioned above, or with the financing of commercial transactions either between Cameroon and countries abroad or between foreign countries, in which these persons or firms take part; (2) loans contracted by registered banks and credit institutions; and (3) loans backed by a guarantee from the government.
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsThe authorization of the MEF is required.
To residents from nonresidentsPrior declaration is required.
Guarantees, sureties, and financial backup facilities
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Controls on direct investment
Outward direct investmentDirect investments abroad (including those made through foreign companies that are directly or indirectly controlled by persons in Cameroon and those made by branches or subsidiaries abroad of companies in Cameroon) require prior approval of the MEF, unless they take the form of a capital increase resulting from the reinvestment of undistributed profits or do not exceed 20% of the fair market value of the company being purchased.
Inward direct investmentForeign direct investments in Cameroon (including those made by companies in Cameroon that are directly or indirectly under foreign control and those made by branches or subsidiaries of foreign companies in Cameroon) require prior declaration to the MEF, unless they take the form of a capital increase resulting from reinvestment of undistributed profits; the MEF has a period of two months from receipt of the declaration during which it may request postponement.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThe full or partial liquidation of direct investments in Cameroon requires only a report to the MEF, unless the operation involves the relinquishing of a participation that had previously been approved as constituting a direct investment in Cameroon.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsPrior authorization of the MEF is required.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsPrior declaration to the MEF is required.
Sale locally by nonresidentsPrior declaration to the MEF is required.
Controls on personal capital movements
LoansLoans, except for those representing an authorized investment, those relating to the provision of services or to the financing of commercial transactions, and those for amounts not exceeding CFAF 500,000, are subject to the prior authorization of the MEF.
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Gifts, endowments, inheritances, and legaciesThe authorization of the MEF is required for transfers related to these operations.
Settlement of debts abroad by immigrantsPrior authorization of the MEF is required.
Transfer of assetsn.r.
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsn.r.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Maintenance of accounts abroadCorrespondent accounts are permitted.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Purchase of locally issued securities denominated in foreign exchangeYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts held by nonresidentsOnly deposits in convertible CFA francs are permitted for nonresidents.
Open foreign exchange position limitsYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investors
Limits (max.) on portfolio invested abroadYes.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsn.a.
Changes During 1999
Exchange arrangementJanuary 1. The CFA peg to the French franc was replaced with a peg to the euro.
Exports and export proceedsJuly 1. All nonforestry export taxes were eliminated.

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