Expanding into Cameroon

5 points to consider before expanding into Cameroon

No matter the vast business opportunities Cameroon got to offer to foreign companies, it is still very tricky environment to do business. It is tricky in the sense that foreign companies coming in are used to a standardized way of doing business, while in Cameroon if some subtle details are ignored it might break their businesses.

More to that, the government is actively making it difficult for foreign firms to compete in certain sectors in Cameroon  by introducing high tariff barriers or a ban in importation of certain products .

5 points to consider before entering Cameroon

  1. Prepare ahead of time

Export first, attend trade shows, and organize trade missions to help better understand the Cameroonian business environment.

Take time in choosing reliable local partners and experts who are local champion in their respective fields and have the right network, turnover and business expertise.

You’ll need time to get used to the environment, overcome the apparent challenges such as infrastructural shortcoming, development of local talent related to your business, and integrate in the Cameroonan distribution network.

  1. Have a clear mission and vision

It is preferable to have both a short term and long term vision.

Your business mission should support your short term vision that keeps your long-term vision in check.

A short term vision alone might discourage you while a long term vision alone might keep you dreaming until you’re forced to make an costly or late exit.             

  1. Openness to new ideas

Foreign companies should be open on how to adapt their products and services to suit the taste of local consumers and stay inline with  local purchasing power and required local minimum quality standards.

Your original ideas will be challenged, you have to be quick to learn and adapt.   

  1. Be realistic

Don’t be carried away by the reported  high  GDP, don’t over estimate the size of the market, the middle class and the limit to their purchasing power, or the miscalculate the attractiveness of a particular sector.

Be realistic, you must study how the economic factors actually translates into more profits for your company and its shareholders.

The only true way to get a realistic view is through a detail market research study in Cameroon and low-risk test of your products or services before you fully engage.

  1. Consider the cost

Cost of hiring professionals, acquiring electricity, transportation might offset the attractiveness of the market.

Unclear laws, difficult procedures can all add up as hidden costs that can surpass potential profits.

Understanding the Cameroonian business environment to your fingertips is the most important factor in succeeding locally.

Test first and delay entry.


Denis Wung

A54 Marketing Group