Chapter

CAMEROON

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2004
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(Position as of December 31, 2003)
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, the intervention currency, at the fixed rate of CFAF 655.957 per €1. Exchange transactions in euros between the BEAC and commercial banks take place at this rate. Buying and selling rates for certain other foreign currencies are also set officially on the basis of the fixed rate for the euro and the rates for the other currencies concerned in the exchange markets. Commercial banks collect commissions at a rate they each set freely, within limits not exceeding 0.25% for any intra-CAEMC transaction and 0.5% for all transactions with areas outside the CAEMC. For exchange of banknotes and traveler’s checks, authorized intermediaries collect commissions of 4% for franc area currencies and 10% for other currencies. However, such commissions are not levied on government exchange transactions.
Exchange taxImports of foreign exchange by authorized dealers are subject to a stamp duty of 0.01% of face value; the duty does not apply to imports by the BEAC.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketYes.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsAs Cameroon is linked to the French Treasury through an Operations Account, settlements with France, Monaco, and other Operations Account countries (WAEMU and CAEMC members and the Comoros) 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 any of the currencies of the parties to the transaction or in a third currency agreed to by the parties.
Payments arrangements
Regional arrangementsAn Operations Account is maintained with the French Treasury that links all Operations Account countries. All purchases and sales of foreign currencies and euros against CFA francs are ultimately settled through a debit or credit to the Operations Account. Exchange regulations of CAEMC member countries are harmonized.
Clearing agreementsThere are clearing arrangements in the framework of the CEEAC.
Administration of controlExchange control is administered by the Directorate of Financial Cooperation, Money and Insurance, in the Ministry of Finance and Budget (MOFB), which delegates its authority to authorized intermediaries. The BEAC monitors exchange regulations, evaluates foreign exchange risk coverage, approves the opening of resident foreign exchange accounts, and monitors the repatriation of export proceeds. Authorized intermediaries verify that transactions conform to regulations, and collect statistics and applicable taxes.
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 (e.g., IMF, UN).
Payments arrearsn.a.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeResidents are free to hold, purchase, and sell gold and precious stones in any form within the CAEMC.
Controls on external tradeImports and exports of gold and precious stones in any form outside the CAEMC require prior authorization of the relevant authorities. This authorization is not required for (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). All imports of gold are subject to customs declaration.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyExports of CFA francs by nonresidents are prohibited. Resident travelers may hold up to CFAF 100,000, while resident and nonresident travelers going to or from any CAEMC country may hold an unlimited amount of BEAC banknotes.
Foreign currencyAll travelers exiting the CAEMC must declare to customs exports of foreign currencies and securities exceeding the equivalent of CFAF 1 million.
On imports
Domestic currencyImports of CFA francs by nonresidents are prohibited. Resident travelers may import up to CFAF 100,000, while resident and nonresident travelers arriving from a CAEMC country may hold an unlimited amount of BEAC banknotes.
Foreign currencyTravelers may import banknotes from CAEMC countries without limitation, subject to the requirement that imports of foreign currency and securities exceeding the equivalent of CFAF 1 million be declared to customs.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedResidents are permitted to open foreign currency accounts at commercial banks, with prior approval of the MOFB and BEAC. These accounts may not be credited or debited by transfers in CFA francs.
Held domestically
Approval requiredThe opening of foreign exchange accounts exclusively for use by enterprises in the strategic sector (e.g., petroleum) that are also allowed to maintain their accounts in foreign currency is subject to the prior authorization of the MOFB.
Held abroadThe opening and maintenance of accounts abroad are prohibited.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadn.a.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyNo.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedNo restrictions apply to these accounts with respect to opening or effecting credit or debit operations.
Domestic currency accountsNonresidents may freely open foreign accounts denominated in CFA francs in the CAEMC; the opening of such accounts must be reported by authorized intermediaries to the BEAC. These accounts, which are held mainly by diplomatic missions, international institutions, and their nonresident employees, may be credited without prior authorization with (1) proceeds of sales of foreign currencies transferred from abroad by account holders, (2) transfers from other foreign accounts denominated in CFA francs, (3) payments by residents in accordance with exchange regulations and (4) other transfers from abroad that are not prohibited. These accounts may be debited without prior authorization for (1) purchases of foreign currencies from authorized intermediaries, (2) transfers to other foreign accounts denominated in CFA francs, (3) payments to residents in accordance with exchange regulations, and (4) other payments to nonresidents that conform to exchange regulations. Overdrafts on these accounts are not permitted.
Convertible into foreign currencyNonresidents may freely open foreign exchange accounts in the CAEMC; the opening of such accounts must be reported by authorized intermediaries to the BEAC. Accounts may be credited and debited only with foreign exchange, and overdrafts on these accounts are not permitted.
Approval requiredPrior authorization of the MOFB is not required. Foreign exchange accounts for use by embassies, international organizations, and similar institutions require a declaration.
Blocked accountsn.r.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsImport payments must be made in accordance with the terms of the underlying contracts. However, advance payments are authorized for up to 50% of the value of imports. Settlements of imports exceeding the equivalent of CFAF 100 million must be verified and accompanied by supporting documents.
Minimum financing requirementsNo restrictions apply to import financing. The amounts to be transferred must correspond to those contained in the relevant import declaration.
Advance payment requirementsUp to 50% of prefinancing is authorized; the balance is authorized only upon presentation of the relevant trade documents.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Domiciliation requirementsAll import transactions for domestic consumption must be reported for statistical purposes, and those valued at more than CFAF 5 million must be domiciled with a resident authorized bank. Transactions involving goods in transit must be domiciled with a bank in the country of final destination.
Preshipment inspectionAll imports valued at more than CFAF 2 million f.o.b. 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 have been almost totally abolished. Importers of goods worth more than CFAF 5 million are required to fill out an import declaration with the SGS. The importing of certain products, which are included in a list established each year by the Ministry of Industrial and Commercial Development (MINDIC), remains subject to licensing.
Positive listA list of products that are still subject to authorization is published annually by the MINDIC in the Programme générale des échanges (Overall Trade Program).
Negative listCertain imports are prohibited for ecological, health, or safety reasons.
Open general licensesThese licenses are required mainly 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 CAEMC.
Taxes collected through the exchange systemSurcharges apply only to imports from countries outside the CAEMC 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 through the servicing bank via the BEAC. 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 that represent the national interest.
Surrender requirementsExport proceeds must be surrendered within 30 days of their repatriation.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirementsFor exports of fresh food products (vegetables, fruits), a health certificate is required before shipment.
DomiciliationExports to all countries are subject to domiciliation requirements for the appropriate documents. Export transactions valued at CFAF 5 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 CFAF 5 million or more. Export licenses are issued by the MOFB.
Without quotasYes.
Export taxesExport taxes established in the Budget Law are collected by the Directorate of Customs.
Other export taxesAn export tax of 17.5% is applied to processed timber, and a rate of 12.5% is applied to semiprocessed timber.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments for invisibles bound for any country must be reported for statistical purposes to an authorized intermediary and are subject to presentation of relevant invoices. Payments for invisibles related to trade are subject to the same requirement as basic trade transactions, as are transfers of income accruing to nonresidents in the form of profits, dividends, and royalties.
Trade-related paymentsNo restrictions apply to the transfer of amounts necessary for the payment of all other trade-related expenses.
Prior approvalThe payment of these expenses is authorized upon presentation of invoices and related documents, when the latter are not taken into account in the basic commercial contract.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related paymentsDistributed profits, dividends, and other interest paid by residents to nonresidents may be transferred when the underlying transaction was authorized or is not subject to authorization.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsTransfers are authorized on the basis of conventions, contracts, minutes of general meetings (as regards profits and dividends), and loan repayment schedules (as regards interest).
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travel
Prior approvalNo restrictions apply to the acquisition of foreign currency by residents traveling to countries other than CAEMC member countries.
Quantitative limitsThe limit on foreign exchange allowances for business travelers is the equivalent of CFAF 10,000 a person a trip with no limit on the number of trips. For tourist, education, or business travel, the allowance is CFAF 4 million for adults and CFAF 2 million for children. For travel for medical reasons, the limit is CFAF 5 million; however, this amount may be adjusted upon presentation of supporting documents. Returning resident travelers are required to declare all means of payment in their possession upon arrival at customs and to surrender them within 30 days.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Prior approvalYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wagesForeigners working in Cameroon may transfer a portion of their net remuneration upon presentation of their pay slip, most recent income tax return, work contract, and proof of residence of their family abroad.
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 the supporting documents provided.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsAll receipts from services and all income earned abroad must be collected within 30 days of the due date through an authorized bank (Article 68 of the CAEMC regulations).
Surrender requirementsForeign currency receipts must be surrendered to the BEAC within 30 days of the date of receipt (Article 69 of the CAEMC regulations). 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 transactionsYes.
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsCapital transactions between Cameroon and CAEMC member countries are free of exchange control. Capital transactions between Cameroon and all other countries are also free of exchange control, subject to legal enforcement against drug-related financing, procuring, and any other misconduct. However, foreign borrowing; foreign direct investment; and the issuing, advertising, or marketing of foreign securities may be subject to special control measures. Inward capital transfers are not controlled, 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; however, those valued at more than CFAF 100 million must be reported to the MOFB.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsThe issuing, advertising, or marketing of foreign securities in Cameroon valued at more than CFAF 10 million requires prior authorization of the MOFB. All foreign securities and debt instruments must be lodged with an authorized intermediary and are deemed to be foreign assets, whether they belong to residents or nonresidents.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
Bonds or other debt securitiesThe regulations governing shares or other securities of a participating nature apply.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On money market instrumentsTransactions in money market instruments valued at more than CFAF 10 million require authorization from the MOFB.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On collective investment securitiesYes.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsPrior MOFB authorization is required for transactions valued at more than CFAF 10 million.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsPrior declaration to the MOFB is required.
Purchase abroad by residentsPrior authorization of the MOFB is required for transactions valued at more than CFAF 10 million.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsPrior declaration to the MOFB is required for transactions valued at more than CFAF 10 million.
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 MOFB whenever the value of the transaction exceeds CFAF 100 million. However, the following exceptions to prior authorization apply: (1) loans constituting a direct investment abroad because prior approval has been obtained; and (2) loans directly connected with the provision 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.
To residents from nonresidentsBorrowing abroad up to CFAF 100 million 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, must be reported to the MOFB within 30 days of each transaction. All other loans from nonresidents must be reported to the MOFB and the central bank 30 days before they are contracted.
Loans contracted by public and quasi-public enterprises, as well as all government-backed foreign loans, are subject to prior MOFB authorization.
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsTransactions valued at more than CFAF 100 million must be reported to the MOFB and to the BEAC.
To residents from nonresidentsPrior declaration to the MOFB 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 and foreign investments in Cameroon (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 must be reported to the MOFB); banks are authorized to examine and then execute transactions valued at up to CFAF 100 million.
Foreign investments abroad, including direct investment, must be declared to the MOFB 30 days prior to execution, unless such investments derive from the reinvestment of undistributed profits.
Inward direct investmentYes.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThe liquidation of foreign direct investment and foreign investment of more than CFAF 100 million must be reported to the MOFB 30 days in advance.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsThese transactions must be reported to the MOFB.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsThese transactions must be reported to the MOFB.
Sale locally by nonresidentsThese transactions must be reported to the MOFB.
Controls on personal capital transactions
LoansExcept for loans representing an authorized investment and those relating directly to the provision of services, banks are authorized to execute only the following transactions: (1) loans granted by resident authorized banks; and (2) other loans valued at up to CFAF 100 million.
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Gifts, endowments, inheritances, and legaciesThe authorization of the MOFB is not required for transfers related to these operations. They are, however, subject to reporting for statistical purposes.
Settlement of debts abroad by immigrantsBanks are authorized to execute these operations. However, they are required to report them to the MOFB.
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 investment portfolio held abroadYes.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsn.a.
Changes During 2003
No significant changes occurred in the exchange and trade system.

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