Total food and agricultural exports from the U.S. to Cameroon reached nearly US$ 18.7 million in 2012,
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number:
2013 Exporting to Cameroon
Russ Nicely, Regional Agricultural Counselor
Marcela Rondon, Regional Agricultural Attaché
Cameroon is situated in the heart of Central Africa and bordered by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African
Republic, the People’s Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea.
Cameroon is the business hub of Central Africa due to its strategic economic and geographical position
as well as enabling Cameroon to have access to Nigeria with a common border of 1,690 kilometers and
access to a 170 million people market. Total food and agricultural exports from the U.S. to Cameroon
reached nearly US$ 18.7 million in 2012, down from two consecutive years worth US$ 25.1 million in
2011 and $26.2 million in 2010 due to fierce price competition from France, Belgium, Argentina,
Brazil, Canada, China, Thailand, Pakistan, and Vietnam. However, potential for U.S. agricultural
exports in the retail sector continue to be present. The CFA is pegged to the euro at CFA fr655.96: 1
Euro and fluctuates in line with the euro: dollar movements. CFAfr 511: US$ 1.
SECTION I. MARKET OVERVIEW
Cameroon has a relatively diversified yet immobile economy with services accounting for 44.5 percent
of 2012 GDP, agriculture and manufacturing 19% each, and oil and mining 7%. Despite boasting a
higher GDP per capita than Senegal and Ghana at $2,300 (2010 est), and steady economic growth,
Cameroon lags behind these two countries in important socio-economic indicators including health,
education, and income disparities.
Cameroon is an economic leader in Central Africa with the largest economy and the largest population
(estimated at 21.0 million) of the six-member regional Economic and Monetary Community of Central
Africa (Communaute Economique et Monetaire de l’Afrique Central, CEMAC), a monetary union with
a supranational central bank and a monetary policy pegged to the Euro. The Bank of Central African
States (BEAC) sets monetary policy for Cameroon and other CEMAC members. CEMAC’s currency, the
Central African Franc (CAF), is managed by BEAC and guaranteed at a rate of 655.957 CFA to the
Euro by the Treasury of the Government of France.
Cameroon is divided in ten geographical “regions” which are governed by handpicked presidential
appointees. Larger cities are managed by presidential-appointed delegates. The president is the head of
the state and elected by popular vote for a seven-year term. President Paul Biya and his ruling party
have been continuously in power since 1982. Although the Constitution provides for a National
Assembly (Parliament), a Senate, and an independent judiciary, in practice the constitutional provisions
relating to the Senate have not yet been implemented and the judiciary remains under the control of the
presidency. Yaoundé is the nation’s political capital, but Douala, the largest city, serves as the
economic capital of Cameroon and the Central African region. Almost all transport in and out of
Cameroon and the land-locked countries of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) passes
through the Douala Port, located slightly inland from the Gulf of Guinea, on the banks of the Wouri
Cameroon’s economy depends on commodity exports and global demand for its products which include
oil, wood, rubber, coffee, cocoa, cotton and aluminum swings in world prices strongly affect its
economic development and growth. In addition, Cameroon is dependent on imported food and food
security is one of its major challenges. However, its main economic development challenge is to
stimulate economic growth and ensure dividends are shared equitably among its population in order to
reduce poverty in a country where 55 percent of the population are poor compared with 12 percent make
up the urban households and the remainder, about 87 percent of the poor live in rural areas.
Cameroon is the fifth world’s largest cocoa bean producer with an estimated 236,000 tons produced in
2011/2012, following the Ivory Coast, Brazil, Ghana, and Nigeria. In addition, Cameroon exports two
varieties of coffee beans, Robusta and Arabica, with an estimated production of 43,560 tons and 12,094
respectively in 2010/2011. In 2010, cotton production reached approximately 115,000 tons, however
only 5% is processed domestically.
The government’s development objectives are outlined in its “Vision 2035” – an ambitious plan that
serves as the long-term footprint for the country’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), the 2009
Growth and Employment Strategy (Document de Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi, or DSCE).
The main objectives of “Vision 2035” are to reduce poverty to less than 10 percent; for the country to
become a middle-income, industrialized nation; and to consolidate democracy and national unity in a
country where it was estimated that over half of the population lives below the poverty line and 30%
According to the World Bank, “weak productivity, a looming energy crisis, and the effects of the global
financial crisis, food insecurity, stagnating poverty, and high unemployment are key challenges over the
2009 to 2019 period.” In addition, the World Bank’s most recent “Doing Business Survey 2012” ranked
Cameroon as the 161th worst place to do business out of 185 countries surveyed. Furthermore,
Cameroon ranked as the 144th most corrupted country out of 176 countries surveyed by the 2012
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.
2009 2010 2011 2012
POPULATION 20.1m 20.4m 19.7m 20.1m
INFLATION RATE 3.0% 3.0% 3.8% 2.9%
GDP (USD) 21.88b 21.9b 25.8b 24.5b
GDP GROWTH 3.8% 2.9% 4.2% 4.7%
TOTAL IMPORTS $4.8b $4.9b $6.0b $6.6b
US AG IMPORTS $22m $27m $25.15m $18.7 m
Sources: Economic Intelligent Unit, CIA Fact Book, BICO Report, Economy Watch, World bank, ADB, IMF
Agriculture in the Economy
Cameroon is endowed with an abundance of natural resources, including oil, high value timber species,
and agricultural products (coffee, cocoa beans, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava
(manioc), livestock, and timber) and untapped resources including natural gas, iron, bauxite, and
cobalt. Palm oil has gained interest lately, but it is not been exported.
Agriculture was the main source of growth and foreign exchange until 1978 when oil production
boomed. Currently, agriculture contributes an estimated 20% to the GDP and about 70 percent of the
work force is engaged in agriculture and pastoral activities for their livelihoods.
While the Government of Cameroon (GOC) has professed a determination to foster urgent economic
growth and job creation, and there is an increasing interest in the mining sector and infrastructure
development, it is not clear how well these promises will translate into higher incomes and job creation.
Cameroon has not signed a Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP)
compact; however, it has begun to engage in preparation for CAADP (as of March 2013) and it is
expected to formally launch implementation in the future. [CAADP focuses on improving security,
nutrition, and increasing incomes in Africa by raising agricultural production by at least 6 percent per
year and increasing public investment in agricultural to at least 10 percent of its national budget per
Agricultural production is expected to increase in the near future as many development projects aimed
at boosting agriculture will begin to show results; however, climate change, and infrastructure
challenges- such as a lack of land rights, a lack of credit, a lack of storage facilities, and a lack of
investment-may prevent the agricultural sector from reaching its potential.
Challenging Agricultural Statistics
The latest official agricultural statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
(MINADER) were released in February 2010 covering the 2007-2008 period for major staple
commodities. National rice production was estimated at 72,000 tons while maize and sorghum
production was estimated at 1.39 million tons and 1.1 million tons respectively.
The Association for Citizens Collective Interest Defense, ACDIC keeps track of statistics for imported
food products (quantities and CFA franc values). It also includes the names of the major food
importers/wholesalers in Cameroon. The following statistics draw from MINADER, ACDIC and other
Rice: According to MINADER, Cameroon rice production reached 72,000 tons while the country
imported 373,536 tons of rice in 2009 mainly from Asia (Thailand, Pakistan and China. In addition,
ACDIC statistics indicate that Cameroon imported over 450,000 tons of rice (est.2011) mainly from
Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Burma. More recently, media reports indicated that rice is the most
consumed food in all regions of Cameroon, mainly because it is cheap and these reports indicate that
total consumption needs are over 650,000 tons.
Production of domestic rice is rising slightly due the government and donors’ commitment to increase
local production through a comprehensive rice strategy that has the financial support of multilateral
donors including the World Bank (WB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development
(IFAD). The ambitious rice strategy aims to eventually replace rice imports by increasing local
production from 72,000 tons in 2008 to 627,250 tons by 2018. However, even if production increased,
this does not mean that consumers will buy local rice. Cameroonian consumers are used to the imported
quality of imported rice and paying a cheaper price for imported rice. Also, due to the landlocked
nature of the rice growing areas, rice produced in the North is already often transported towards Nigeria
where prices are higher and the road infrastructure in the border is generally in good condition.
According to the National Strategy for Rice Growing in Cameroon, rice consumption is estimated at
25.7 kilogram per person and growing at annual rate of 4 percent per year.
Preliminary import data from ACDIC for the first half of 2012 shows that Cameroon authorities spent
nearly CFA franc 96.7 billion to import 366,600 tons of rice during the first half of 2012, emphasizing
the demand needs for the staple.
Vegetable Oil: National production of oils (mainly palm oil) was estimated at 225,606MT in 2008
according to data from the Department of Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development. , ACDIC statistics report that Cameroon imported 379,493 tons of palm oil, mainly from
Indonesia, Malaysia, Belgium and France in 2011.
Wheat: Cameroon does not produce any type of wheat. In 2011 ACDIC reported that Cameroon
imported nearly 300,000 tons of wheat from France, Canada, and Argentina to serve their growing
pasta, instant noodle, biscuits and bread consumer needs not only in Cameroon, but in Central Africa.
There are 11 wheat mills based in Douala with a capacity of 586,000 tons per year, however, only 9 are
actively milling. The milling industry in Cameroon is well organized and a powerful in lobbying the
government. The group is called Societe Minoteries du Cameroon (SMC) According to SMC,
Cameroon imported 421,799 tons in 2010. Most of the wheat imported is French soft wheat and
Canadian CRWS. Pasta, biscuits, and instant snack noodles have become staples in the Cameroonian
diet and are consumed by individuals in all income groups.
Livestock production is estimated at 5.3 million cattle; 7.7 million sheep and goats; 3.3 million poultry;
and 1.35 million pigs.
The Republic of Cameroon has a strong central government headed by President Paul Biya who has
been in office since 1982. President Paul Biya won the October 2011 presidential election and has been
in power for 30 years. Legislative and municipal elections have been postponed potentially for a year
(initially due in July 2012). The country is run by Presidential decrees; however, President Biya
continues to face many challenges including high unemployment and high commodity prices.
The Government regulates and subsidizes imported food, basically as a way to moderate the impact of
high food prices that resulted in food riots in 2008. In that year, after the food riots, the government
eliminated a 5 percent tax on imported rice, wheat, flour, and fish and suspended customs duties on fuel,
as the cost of basic commodities and high commodity global prices seriously impacted Cameroon’s
economy, depressing exports, growth, and overall global consumption. More recently, in February
2011, President Paul Biya created a government run agency that regulates the supply and price of basic
food items such as rice, wheat, corn, oil, fish, and sugar. The government continues to subsidize
imported food, electricity, and fuel imports, thus moderating the impact of global prices.
The 1994 Regional Fiscal Reform Program outlines six different tariffs and taxes related to the
importation of goods: The common external tariff, the generalized preferential tariff, the temporary
surcharge, the excise tax, the valued added tax, and other service taxes.
Cameroon’s trade policy is based on the Common External Tariff (TEC acronym in French) which
groups merchandise into four categories, with tariff levels ranging from 5 to 20 percent. The
administration of these tariffs is very complex. For this reason, potential exporters to Cameroon may
contact the Customs Administration or Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), the agency responsible
for pre-loading cargo inspections for the Cameroonian Government and issuance of the importation
declaration upon receipt of the pro forma invoice.
Cameroon bans imports of frozen poultry to protect local production as a result of a highly publicized
battle in the early 2000s when frozen poultry parts from Europe flooded the market and were sold at
prices below local production costs and thousands of poultry farmers loss their jobs. In addition, live
poultry, including day-old chick imports, were banned. However, the government may issue ad hoc
import waivers and quotas to meet demand for poultry meat, which is estimated at 30,000-31,500 tons
Cameroon is eligible to participate in Cameroon continues to be one of the most challenging
AGOA. business environments in the world –ranked 161th out of
Cameroon is officially a bilingual Cameroonians appreciate an opportunity to “get to
(French and English) country. French is know” potential partners before beginning concrete
most commonly used in business, discussion in French and/or English.
politics, and social interaction.
Citibank is present in Cameroon. U.S. consolidators may see the Cameroon market as too
Cameroon has 13 commercial banks and small and unprofitable to service due to the high cost of
25 insurance transportation from the U.S. to Douala. companies.
Highest per capita income in Sub- Cameroonian businesses are extremely price-sensitive
Saharan Africa ($2,300) Cameroon has and suffer from lack of readily-available local credit.
4 ports; however Port Douala handles an
annual traffic of about 6 million tones,
over 95% of the national port traffic.
Government is “committed” to Economic policy mismanagement and poor business
agricultural development. climate have restrained investment and hindered
The private sector continues to identify predatory tax
environment, insufficient and unreliable power, and
Strong US Non Governmental Government imposes spontaneous price controls on
Organization & Private Voluntary some basic commodities (e.g.., poultry products, maize,
Organization presence. vegetable oils, sugar), but these price controls are
There is room for growth and Corruption is endemic in Cameron. In 2012, Cameroon
modernization of the sector and ranked 144 out of 176 on the Transparency International
agricultural industry. Corruption Perception Index.
Increasing interest to explore biotech No Biosafety legislation.
Cameroon imports much of its Some imported products are priced-
food, particularly higher value and controlled and/or subsidized by the
non-staple goods and will do so for government.
Almost all good entering Cameroon Expensive shipping costs and limited
(and land-locked neighbors Chad direct routes puts US exporters at
and Central African Republic) disadvantage with competitors shipping
transit through the Port of Douala from nearby. Internal transport costs are
and are distributed by truck to the high, and rainy season movements are
road network. constrained due to lack of all-weather
Cameroon has the largest private
sector in French-speaking Central
Although French is the The road infrastructure is poor. Road
predominant language of transport is the main mode of transport for
Cameroon’s economy goods and persons. The road network , many
C totals of about 50,000 km, of which 56% ameroonians (especially higher-
is classified as primary road. Many check
end consumers) speak English and points both legal and illegal create several
English only language products delays and add further to the cost.
will not be disadvantaged.
Cameroon has undertaken several Sectors of high corruption potential
anti-corruption and good include government procurement,
governance initiatives. customs, and public health facilities.
SECTION II: EXPORTER BUSINESS TIPS
Be careful of internet scams;
The use of the internet is increasing, however, many companies do not have websites or they are
Business negotiations tend to be slower than in the United States, persistence and patience are
highly recommended when doing business in Cameroon;
Cameroon business class is very formal, dress attire must be worn regardless of weather;
Knowledge of French and some historical national moments are viewed positively;
French language in printed materials is preferred, although some Cameroon businessmen in the
import/export sector are bilingual;
Use a personalized approach with consistent attention in service and delivery with follow up
When contacting with top decision-makers communication is most effective in person;
Some importers maintain buying/ agents in London/Europe and consolidate their shipments
through third party consolidators;
Supermarkets and HRI prefer not to import directly, but buy imported products from the local
distributors in wholesale markets to avoid delays;
Business attire is recommended when meeting with government officials;
Cameroon uses the metric system for measurements and weights, so using the metric system in
labels and packaging is recommended;
Major Cameroon retailers (importers/distributors) attended the SIAL Salon International de l’
Alimentation, Paris 2012 and some transactions were initiated at the show;
AmCham Cameroon will open an office in Pennsylvania (PA) to facilitate trade between U.S.
Think long term strategies;
HRI operators prefer fresh fruits and vegetables and the quality of products is very important,
especially in the upper class hotels serving the international business community;
Ethnic restaurants can be found in Yaoundé and Doula mostly serving the expatriate community
and upper income Cameroonians.
General and Agricultural Trade Situation
Cameroon has fertile land and abundant rainfall which enables farmers to produce a variety of crops to
meet not only its domestic needs, but also earn higher incomes from export crops. Coffee and cocoa are
grown in the central and southern regions. Bananas and cotton grow in the northern regions. Small-
scale farmers and/or farming families grow millet, sorghum, peanuts, plantains, sweet potatoes, yams,
and cassava on 0.2-5 hectares of land, and, although women produce 80 percent of the country’s food
needs, they own only 2% of the total agricultural land. Legume crops (beans, cowpeas and ground
nuts) are produced throughout the country as well as fruits and vegetables, while most of the livestock
production takes place in many provinces in the North.
The western highlands are among the most fertile regions in Cameroon and have a relatively healthy
environment in the higher altitudes. Corn, the main staple for the Southern region, is grown in the
Cameroon is the fifth cocoa largest producer behind Ivory Coast, Ghana, Brazil, and Nigeria with
236,000 tons of cocoa beans produced in 2011/2012. Currently, production is estimated at 212,000 tons
(11 percent down from last season) due to drought and crop infection.
SPS and Regulatory Systems
The National Agency for Standards and Quality, L’Agence de Normes et la Qualité (ANOR) is the
organization responsible for setting the standards for all processed products including processed and
packaged food. International standards such as those set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and
international Plant Protection Convention are used by this organization to carry out its responsibilities.
There are over 300 standards for food production.
There are specific labeling requirements for imported goods. Labels should be in English and French
and well-labeled goods enjoy quicker identification and customs clearance as SGS has the authority to
inspect the quality of any goods shipped into the country. Food products destined for Cameroon should
have the manufacturing and expiration dates engraved or stamped on the top of the container and
packaging in clearly legible ink. Also, a small comment stating “made in” and “to be consumed
before” labeling in English/French.
Information on food labels imported or domestic should include:
Name and brand of product
Country of origin
Name and address of the manufacturer
List of ingredients (including salt) and additives
Nutrition and caloric value
Allergenic ingredients and allergenic processing aids (gluten, soybean, peanuts, etc)
Net weight/volume (metric system)
Expiration date/shelf life
Shelf life (if the product has a shelf life of less than three months, it must include the day/month/ year of
Products containing GMO s must be labeled accordingly.
All products sold in Cameroon must have the following statement: “Sold in CEMAC” or “Vente en
Business Customs and Keys to Success
U.S. agribusiness interested in exporting to Cameroon should contact the USDA office in Nigeria to
find about market opportunities and contacts for credible contacts working in Cameroon.
U.S. exporters are advised to explore and look at entering the Cameroonian market as a transit corridor
for the other CEMAC countries and Nigeria.
U.S. exporters of agricultural product considering entering the Cameroon market are advised to visit
Cameroon and hire the services of a reputable agent or distributor fluent in both French and English and
familiar with local businesses practices.
U.S. exporters should provide prices on a CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) basis. New U.S. exporters
should require an irrevocable letter of credit prior to shipping.
Most importers of U.S. food products recommend that food products are labeled both in French and
English as the North West region speaks mainly English. However, 50 percent of the population is
Consumer Tastes and Preferences
Cameroonian consumers from all income levels enjoy imported food products; but, they are price-
sensitive. Cameroonians are used to imported food products as domestic production/value added
processing is very low and locally produced products are considered of lower quality and sometimes
more expensive than imported ones. Also, the government spends millions of CFA franc in food import
subsidies to avoid a recurrence of the 2008 food riots, and strained the national budget year after year.
In a World Bank report published in 2012, the food imports (% of merchandise imports) in Cameroon
was last reported at 17.70 in 2010. Most recently, it was reported that food imports subsidies
consumed approximately 20 percent of the current national budget which is highly dependent on
increased commodity exports.
For lower and middle-lower end consumers, price remains the most important factor in determining
preferences, so they prefer cheaper imported food. Retailers buy imported products from the open air
markets avoiding the long wait for importing on their own. Good quality items are not overlooked and
highly sought by retailers and restaurant owners to serve their international business clientele. However,
most cooking is done within the home and dining out in restaurants is still very limited. Also, lower-end
consumers spend smaller amounts of money and shop at the open-air markets, street vendors, and do so
more frequently since they can afford to buy only smaller quantities.
Food Standards, Product Registration and Regulations
In the absence of any specified domestic norms or standards, international norms and standards are
applied. There is no well-defined system for the elaboration of food standards, however, L’Agence de
Normes et de la Qualite, National Agency for Standards and Quality, ANOR sets the food quality
standards to align with the international CODEX Alimentarious Committee standards. The United
States has sponsored the contact focal point, Mrs. Garonne Chouya Tchakoute, to attend the regional
Codex Meetings the last couple of years.
General Import and Inspection Procedures
In general, Cameroon does not have quantitative restrictions on imports, tariff protections or import
licensing requirements. In theory there are no tariffs within the CEMAC countries and only a value-
added tax is applied to goods traded among the CEMAC countries at the point of entry. However, in an
effort to protect the poultry sector, the government controls imports of frozen chicken parts.
Importers must have an importation license issued from the Ministry of Trade. SGS must be notified of
import transactions above 2 million franc CFA ($4,000). A one-stop shop exists for all customs
procedures. All documents must be submitted within 48 hours of a shipment’s arrival. In 2009, the
Customs Department started to use an online clearing system called SYDONIA to expedite the clearing
process and tracking containers.
For further information on customs procedures in Cameroon, potential exporters may contact the
Customs Administration or Societe Camerounaise de Surveillance,(SGS) who are responsible for
handling pre-loading cargo inspections for the Government of Cameroon and they issue an import
declaration upon receipt of a pro-forma invoice.
There are six different tariff and taxes for imported products: The Common External Tariff (TEC); The
Generalized Preferential Tariff; the Temporary Surcharge, The Excise tax; the Value Added Tax; the
Regional Integration Tax; and other Service Taxes.
The TEC groups products into 4 categories-with rates ranging from rates 5-30 percent. Category I
refers to first necessity goods (5%) defined by ministerial decree as foodstuffs; Category II refers to
materials and equipment (10%); Category III refers to intermediary (semi-processed) goods; and
Category IV refers to final consumption imported goods (30%).
The value added tax (VAT) is a consumer tax. The VAT is charged on merchandise entering the
country on the CIF value and levied on most products at a flat rate of 19.25%.
SECTION III: MARKET SECTOR STRUCTURE AND TRENDS
The Cameroon retail sector consists of supermarkets and independent grocery/convenience stores as
well as the traditional, open-air street vendors where 90 percent of total retail food sales take place.
While open-air markets supplied by wholesalers remain the dominant channel for Cameroon’s retail
food sales, there has been a gradual but steady preference towards consumer food purchasing at
supermarkets and the convenience store channels.
The formal retail sector is going through major developments. However, there are still only a few
supermarkets, concentrated in Douala and Yaoundé, serving the higher income local and expatriate
consumers. On a recent trip to Cameroon Post visited Mahima Supermarket, SKT Supermarket, Casino
and Mboppi open market in Douala, DOVV Supermarket, Espace Landmark, Rayco Supermarket, and
MFoudi open market in Yaoundé. There are several supermarkets in Douala. Mahima is the largest
supermarket in Douala, followed by Casino (France), Leader (price discounter- part of the Casino
group) and convenience store including Bonjour (Total’s brand) and other local smaller supermarkets in
Most of the products available in the food section were originally from France or the EU, but sourced
out of Dubai. American brands found on the supermarket shelves were Magic Time, Jolly Time,
American Garden, and Grand Jury brands. Kellogs and Heinz Ketchup were sourced locally by the
stores but imported by others.
The purchasing managers attend international food shows, buying missions, etc, or they establish a
direct contact with the foreign supplier or local agent and import directly from them. Cameroonian
food importers/distributors attended the SIAL 2012 food show in Paris.
Cameroon does not have a history of very well developed supermarket retailing, but continues to mainly
use the traditional open-markets. Even the government sponsors an open air market run by MIRAP
which is similar to a U.S. farmers’ market and is scheduled for a set date where consumers can find both
imported and local products.
The importers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers may be essentially all the same and sell directly to
the consumer when it is more profitable.
A distributor/wholesaler agent and the retailer may buy mixed-grocery containers from various
consumer-oriented food exporters and wholesale/retail outlets around the globe. Restaurant and hotel
managers may also be direct importers or prefer to buy imported products from a local agent or go to the
local market and buy off the wholesalers and/or distributors. Post confirmed that HRI managers would
prefer to buy local imported products from the local agents rather than importing themselves due to the
severe delays at the ports.
The main problem purchasing managers indicated to Post was that they must buy what is available
when it is available because otherwise the product may be gone the next day. Therefore, wholesalers sell
to retailers in large quantities and at discounted prices. Retailers purchase more than 90 percent of their
stock of consumer-oriented foods from importers/wholesalers/distributors who are located in the
traditional, open markets, or even from other supermarkets. It is interesting that a few of the retailers
interviewed by Post referred to imported products at times as “local products” because they were
purchased in the open-air market or from local distributors. By buying from the wholesalers in the open
markets they avoid dealing with the delays and transactions at the port.
Post confirmed the origin of most imported processed food products in Cameroon supermarkets as
mainly from the EU. However, some products had labels in Arabic, French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc.
These products had been shipped from Dubai, UAE. The EU countries (Spain, Italy, France, etc) are
the major wine suppliers to Cameroon. One supermarket owner had brought in a container of wine
from California that had been sitting on the shelves for over 4 years.
The availability of same quality products is the main sourcing problem for operators in Cameroon.
There are two options to source products in Cameroon:
Option 1: Buy directly from the source which requires tremendous amounts of administrative hours
and dealing with taxes, agents, ports.
Option 2: Buy from the wholesaler, so you don’t have to deal with the first option.
U.S. market share is low, mainly due to:
Competitive prices offered by other food exporters
Lack of sponsored agricultural trade missions from the U.S. to Cameroon and reverse trade
missions to the U.S
Higher freight rates for shipments from the United States
U.S. exporter are unfamiliar with the business environment in Cameroon
Prices almost double when importing from anywhere
EU exporters offer better credit terms to Cameroon importers
SECTION IV: BEST PROSPECTS
Tomato Ketchup, Mayonnaise & Salad Dressing
Canned Soups, vegetables, fruits *
Baby Foods & Health Food products
*canned products are used as substitute for fresh products. Cameroonians prefer homemade soups and
stews and fresh vegetables whenever possible.
SECTION VI: POST CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
1. Agricultural Affairs Office (USDA/FAS)
U.S. Consulate General Lagos
2, Walter Carrington Crescent
Victoria Island, Lagos-Nigeria
Tel: 234 -1-460-3577;3485
United States Embassy Yaoundé, Cameroon
Christopher A. Ekom
6050 Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: +237-22 20 15 ext 4382
Fax: +237- 22 20 15 03
Jean Paul Yana
(+237) 22-20-15-00 extension 4118
United States Embassy, Douala, Cameroon
Branch Office, Cameroon
Edward A. Gallagher
5th floor, Ecobank Building
Rue Thobie Kuoh/Rue French
3. Government Regulatory Agency Contacts:
The Societe Camerounaise de Surveillance, SGS
Director of Customs Valuation
(+237) 22-20 2541
Agence des Normes et de la Qualite, ANOR
National Agency for Standards and Quality
General Director Charles Boto’o a Ngon
Address: Headquarters P.O Box 14996
Telephone: +237) 2222-6496
The Mass Product Consumer Regulatory Authority, MIRAP
Chairman of the Board: Fouda Seraphin Magloraire
Administrator: Bamok Ntol Cyprien
This program was created by Presidential Decree in February 2011 and is placed under the technical
oversight of the Ministry of Finance. The goal is to regulate the supply and price of basic food items
such as rice, wheat, corn, oil, fish, and sugar. It is supposed to be an early warning structure responsible
for the purchase, import products and storage of essential goods- it is responsible for building up reserve
stocks, opening stores (rather open-air markets) and set up of vendor spaces. Consumers are able to buy
products of good quality at subsidized prices. Consumers in certain urban areas take advantage of the
cheaper prices and stock up once a month when the “MIRAP markets” are set up in their neighborhoods.
The Government of Cameroon Official Website (English/French)
Presidency of the Republic: http://www.prc.com
Prime Minister’s Office: http://www.spm.gov.cm
The American Chamber of Commerce in Cameroon
Executive Director: Ms. Charmian Penda
Address: Champagne Plaza Building
Telephone : +237 77 11 52 72
WebSite : www.amchamcam.org
The American Chamber of Commerce in Cameroon (AmCham Cameroon) is a voluntary organization
of companies and individuals doing business in Cameroon. Its primary objective is to advance the
development of trade, commerce, and investment between the U.S. and Cameroon. It pursues policy
initiatives at the highest levels of government, provides valuable advocacy, information, networking and
business support services. AmCham Cameroon works closely with the staff at the U.S. embassy in
Cameroon, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the Unites States as well as business associations in
4. Private Sector Contacts:
Imperial Foods Company is a Cameroonian food company located in the Industrial Magzi Zone at
Bassa, Douala. Also involved in importing, wholesale, and distribution, etc.
Ahmadou Danpoulo Baba, CEO
Rue Castelnau, Akwa, B.P. 18607, Douala, Cameroon
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Tel : (+237) 33 43 72 21
Website : http://www.imperialfoods-sa.com
DOVV Distribution SARL is a Cameroonian distributor, importer, and retailer of grocery products
Philippe Tagne Nobissi, CEO
B.P. 20829 Yaoundé
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (+237) 22 20 41 66/22 20 43 07
Espace Landmark (ELM) is a convenience/ US $1 store that sells a great variety of products with a
small section of U.S. food.
Marie Ortance Epse Akame Mfoumou, Owner
B.P. 15181 Yaounde, Cameroon
Email : email@example.com
Tel: (+237) 22 22 18 32/22 22 18 49/99 99 47 74
Supermarché MAHIMA, Douala-Yaoundé
Rajwani D.U., General Manager
Akwa Avenue Ahmadou Ahidjo
BP : 15430- Douala-Cameroon
Tel : (+237) 33 42 61 82/33 43 01 90
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Meridien Hotel, Douala- Cameroon
Dominique Viard, General Manager
35 Avenue des Cocotiers
PO Box 3232 Douala, Cameroon
Tel : (+237) 33 43 50 00
Email : Dominique.email@example.com
Web site: www.lemeridien.com
5. Other Important information:
For a List of 2013 Agriculture Trade events in the United States. Please, visit:
Active U.S. Cooperators/ Representatives covering the Sub-Saharan region:
USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) representative in South Africa
Ms. Zelda Sharp
64 Summit Drive
Patlynn 101, Johannesburg, South Africa
(Covers Sub-Saharan Africa)
U.S. Wheat Associates Regional Office in Capetown
Telephone: (27 21) 418-3710
Fax: (27 21) 419-0400
Providing trade services to: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad,
Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ecuatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Gambia Conakry, Lesotho, Liberia,
Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome/Principe, Senegal, Sierra
Leone, South Africa, St. Helena, Swaziland, Togo, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), a program of the American Soybean
Association (ASA), brings the benefits of U.S. soy protein to developing countries where it can make a
difference in lives today and in the future. Over 800 million people worldwide, including 200 million
children are undernourished.
Kim Rochette, Country Representative based in Senegal