The State of Cameroon as stated in part 6 of the Constitution has negotiated and ratified treaties and international agreements which make trade and investment more transparent and convenient such as: the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards concluded under the auspices of the United Nations; the Washington Convention of 1965 on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and nationals of other States; the Seoul Convention of 11 October 1985 to set up the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the OHADA treaty of 1993 which is the harmonization of business law in Africa .
The government has also enacted regulations to make trade and investment more secure and less costly, like the 1990 law on Commercial Activity in Cameroon and the 2002 law on the Investment Charter. This charter is the totality of certain rights, liberties, obligations and powers granted by the State to investors.
More specifically, the charter provides an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework to guarantee the security of investments, provide support to investors, and ensure fair and prompt settlement of investment-related as well as commercial and industrial disputes.
Despite all these, the regulations are not very effective because of numerous barriers like, delay in the execution of implementation decrees or texts of application; financial transfer barriers; procedural and financial irregularities which is characterised by corruption, poor governance and administrative bottlenecks; high taxation rates; lack of capacity to develop appropriate trade and investment policies; inadequate transport and communication facilities, inadequate trade and investment support services; lack of capacity to withstand external shocks; inadequate partnership between governments, private sector and civil society on trade and investment issues; problems relating to dumping and the importation; and lack of collaboration and coordination between the government departments involved in trade and investment issues.
Tackling the challenges of trade and investment in Cameroon requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that entails, the reduction of the Tax rate; improvements in infrastructure and the provision of efficient and competitive services in the areas of roads, railways, ports, information and communications technology; the removal of illegal roadblocks; the simplification and harmonization of customs and border procedures; encourage the one stop shop system and the Investment Projects Register; strengthen the private sector and the business environment; market trade and investment opportunities; improve market access; sort more technical assistance and develop an adequate macroeconomics framework. We should not forget that we need to make our social environment very friendly through appropriate legal regulations.
This has important implications for policymakers and investors. Firstly on the part of policymakers, it will help them to know if the regulations which define the trade and investment promotion framework in accordance with the overall development strategy are effective.
It will further help them to determine if the regulations can be modify or revise to better create a secure climate for business.
And it will also provide a framework for the government to update existing and potential investors on the progress that has been made on enhancing the business environment.
On the hand, it will help Investors and other stake holders to discover the numerous benefits and guarantees put in place to encourage them do business in Cameroon.
Existing and potential investors will know where to address themselves if they want to do business. They will come to realise that Cameroon is the best place to do business in the whole of the Central African region and one of the best in the African continent. After all, Cameroon is Africa in miniature.
All is certainly not perfect and much remains to be done. In this respect, the work has put forward numerous proposals which in the main are based on personal analysis but which also take into consideration the arguments and criticisms of others.
This article submits that the contribution of each citizen is decisive for the realisation of the great destiny that Cameroon is marked for.
Finally we must bear in mind that the success of any ambitious project like the one of encouraging investment and trade in Cameroon is base not only on the elaboration of adequate, appropriate and competitive regulations but equally on the successful implementation of these regulations.
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