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AN ARTICLE ON INVESTMENT LAW IN CAMEROON

Cameroon is situated in the Central African Region. Cameroon is considered as one of the countries in Africa enjoying a suitable political stability and GDP growth (annual %)  from  last reported at 3.80 in 2011, according to a World Bank report published in 2012. and social development that should lead to an emergence nation by 2035. She is equally considered within the region as the bread basket of the region.

 

In Cameroon, French and English languages are the official languages. These two languages are reflected in all aspects in the national life of the country. A good example is the judicial system which is bi- jural with the civil law and common law used simultaneously within the court systems while civil law is used in court business in the French speaking regions, the common law jurisdictions of the country are the English speaking regions. These two systems have been of great motivation to investors from all over the world as they can easily carry on with their activities without any language barrier.

 

Cameroon equally plays a leadership position in the Central African Region within the economic community known by its French acronym the (CEMAC ZONE) which is the Economic and Monetary Union of member States. This Union has as members ; Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Central Africa Republic  which have  as principal objective to formulate and implement   common economic and monetary policies amongst  its members amongst other things.

 

However, each country within this Union is at liberty to legislate on laws governing its investments.  The government of Cameroon has undertaken and is putting into place an enabling economic environment to consolidation a partnership between the public and private sectors and good corporate governance via a proper and modern investment code (The Private Investment Incentive in the Republic of Cameroon[1]).

 

The investment code applicable to investment activities in Cameroon before now  was instituted by ordinance number 90/007 of 09 November 1990 amended by Law No. 2002-004 of 19 April 2002 then known as the Investment Charter, today being replaced by the Private Investment Incentive in the Republic of Cameroon.

 

The Private Investment Incentive in the Republic of Cameroon has laid down the  incentive regime for private investments of the Republic of Cameroon applicable to Cameroonians and Foreign entities, natural or legal entities residing in or out of Cameroon, in the conduct of their activities or participation in the equity of Cameroonian companies in order to encourage productivity, investment ,promote jobs creation and develop activities geared towards strong, sustainable economic growth and ensure the objective of emergence by 2035.

 

The participation of foreign and home investors in the new vision envisaged by this new bill has earmarked several benefits to enable investors benefit in their investment in Cameroon. [2], to wit:

 

• Fiscal and Custom incentives[3] the investors shall benefit within the period of installation which may run up to five years[4]of their investment. The investors can equally benefit from other incentives within the first ten years of his exploitation.[5]

•The administrative and financial incentives[6]. An investors shall benefits from  financial and administration incentives these include the right to open either in Cameroon or abroad of  a foreign bank account with  local currency depending on the various business operation, the right to conserve and transfer dividends from the business operation.

•The new law has equally brought in to the existence sectors referred to as priority section within the economy and has attached to it specific incentives. This specific section[7]includes the development of agriculture fisheries and animals life stock activities, tourism and leisure, social ecology social housing, and many others shall benefits from the specific incentives[8] to help achieve the priority objective of the Head of State.

 

The government has within this law envisaged the creation of a special VISA and a ONE- STOP- SHOP in all International Airports[9] to welcome all investors and provide them with investment opportunity in Cameroon subject to the prescription by the law.

 

The new bill equally prescribes the creation of Control Committees[10] by presidential decree to work in conjunction with the services of the ministries charge finance private investment and labour to ascertain the effectiveness of investment and the processing of investor’s claims.

 

A Joint Monitory Committee[11] attached to the Priminister’s Office   is another body to ensure, in liaison with the Competitiveness Regulatory Board, the stability of incentives granted to investors.

 

The Code has equally prefer amicable settlement and  arbitration of dispute to serve time resources in resolving  disputes, the beneficiary investors shall refer the matters to the Control Committee to seek amicable settlement and should that fail, they may then refer the matter to an arbitration body recognized by the State of Cameroon. Decisions from such an award are enforceable[12] in Cameroon.   The new   law on Private Investment Incentives in the Republic of Cameroon has instituted the spirit alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as compare to litigation which usually takes time for issues to be determined by the courts.

 

 

The new Private investment Incentive in the Republic of Cameroon   has departed from the spirit and objectives set forth   in the Investment Charter[13] in several ways.

 

The (Investment code), set as objectives[14] to build a competitive and prosperous economy by boosting investments and savings and attaining its economic and social objectives of the Republic of Cameroon by;

 

Reasserting of the market economy as the ideal economic system.

 

The reassertion of the State’s essential role in promoting economic and social development.

 

The recognition of the key role played by entrepreneurs, investors, and private enterprises as a crucial factor in  generating wealth and employment for which the State and the society at large should pay special attention.

 

The commitment to safeguard free enterprises and freedom to invest.

 

The commitment to maintain a sound macro economic context.

 

The commitment to ensure the flexibility and reversibility of decision-making processes in a bid to consolidate the competitiveness of the economy.

 

The classification of the economic state and social role of the State and its institutions as collective actors striving for full employment of national resources through appropriate action and taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the market, the private sector and the civil society in order to usher in the rule of law and good governance amongst other points etc.

 

On the other hand, the new law on Private Investment Incentive[15] in the Republic of Cameroon has set forth some specific objectives which include;

 

Participation in the economic development of Cameroon by moral , and physical person resident and non resident in Cameroon, the participation in the capital of Cameroonian companies in view of encouraging private investment and growth in national productivity.

 

To improve the business environment through simplification of administration and tax procedures, coupled with the commitment taken by the State to suppress a number of venues so as to ease not only the establishment of investors in Cameroon but also to protect their investments.

 

It equally established a platform so as to encourage, promote activities attracting productive investments with a view to creating employment activities geared towards the promotion of growth and job creation toward the emergence of 2035.

 

 

[1] Law No 2013 /004of 18 April 2013 to lay down Private Investment Incentives in the Republic of Cameroon.

 

 

[2] Section 4  of law No 2013 004 18 April 2013 prescribes the advantages  previewed  by the law for investors

 

 

[3] Chapter 1 section 1 of Law No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[4] Section chapter 1 section 6 of law No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[5] Chapter 1 section 7 of LAW No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[6] Chapter 11 section 12 of law No 2013 004 18 April 2013

 

 

[7] Chapter 111 section 14 of Law No 2013 004 18 April 2013

 

 

[8] Sections 15 and 16 of Law 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[9] Section 13 of the Law No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[10] Section 22 of the Law No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[11] Section 31 of the L aw No 2013 004 18 April 2013.

 

 

[12] Section 5 law no. 2007/001 of 19 April 2007 to institute a judge in charge of litigation related to the execution of judgments and lay down conditions for the enforcement in Cameroon of foreign court decisions, public acts and arbitral awards.

 

 

 

 

[13] Law No 2002 -004 of 19- 04 2002.

 

 

[14] Section 2 of Law No 2002 – 004 of 91-04 2002 the guiding principles.

 

 

[15] Law No 2013 /004of 18 April 2013.

 

mojufisc team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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