Country Financial Sector Profilesback

Financial Sector Overview

Economic Landscape

Cameroon is a lower middle-income country with an estimated population of 24 million. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Cameroon is also bordered by Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria. Two of its regions (bordering southern Nigeria) are English-speaking, while the rest of the country is French-speaking. Cameroon is endowed with abundant natural resources including oil and gas, mining resources, high-value wood species and a rather dynamic agricultural sector that contributed to 76% of economic growth in 2017, and 68% in 2016. Cameroonian agriculture accounts for 21.3% of GDP, while the industrial and tertiary sectors represent 30.8% and 47.9% respectively. Cameroon ranks 163rd out of 190 economies in the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report (compared to 172 out of 189 in 2016). The government has targeted certain sectors as investment priorities: transportation, food industry, tourism and rural development. Major programmes are therefore implemented by public authorities, with the support of donors.

Financial institutions

The financial institutions sector includes: (i) credit institutions (banks and financial institutions) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) under the supervision of the Banking Commission: COBAC; (iii) insurance companies regulated by the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA); and (iv) social security institutions (PAHO) under the supervision of the Inter-African Social Security Conference (CIPRES).

Cameroon's financial system is the largest in the CEMAC region. According to the number of institutions, Cameroon is the main financial centre in the sub-region with more than 600 financial institutions out of 993, or 61%. As a member of this economic and monetary union, Cameroon shares a common currency, a common central bank (the Central Bank of Central African States - BEAC), as well as a common monetary policy with the other Member States. The fixed-income market, including the bond market, is also integrated at the regional level. Under CEMAC regulations, national treasuries are allowed to issue treasury bills and bonds through weekly and monthly auctions.

17 commercial banks operate in the country and are under the supervision of the Central African Banking Commission (COBAC), itself under the umbrella of the Common Central Bank (BEAC). The strength of the banking sector has deteriorated in recent years, due to prolonged breaches of prudential regulations.

According to some estimates, there are about 600 licensed microfinance institutions in the country, but liquidity is a major challenge. It is also noted that many MFIs have been closed by the government due to fraud and non-compliance with defined procedural rules. MFIs officially represent 15% of loans granted in the national financial sector and have a significant impact on the financial inclusion rate through financial services offered in peri-urban and rural areas. In addition, mobile money plays an important role in financial inclusion. It is driven by the increasing mobile penetration rate, which stood at 35.64% in 2017, an increase of 2.39% compared to the previous year, according to a recent report by the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART).

About 27% of Cameroon's population has an account in a commercial bank and about 5% of Cameroonians have access to mortgage financing. The long-term credit market in Cameroon remains underdeveloped.

In June 2018, Standard & Poor's credit rating for Cameroon was "B" with a stable outlook. The credit rating as estimated by Moody's for Cameroon was "B2" with a negative outlook, while Fitch indicated a credit rating of "B" with a stable outlook.

Banking sector

The Cameroonian banking market consists of 9 commercial banks and 8 banking-type financial institutions that became operational in April 2018. At the end of 2017, the total volume of loans granted by the Cameroonian banking sector was estimated at CFAF 3,321.5 billion (USD 6.1 billion), or 17.5% of GDP in the same year, while deposits collected amounted to CFAF 4,012.1 billion (USD 7.4 billion).

According to an IMF report of October 2018, the balance sheet total of the Cameroonian banking sector amounted to CFAF 5,308 billion (USD 9.7 billion) in 2017, or 26.8% of GDP compared to 23% in 2010. There was a kind of stagnation in the banks' contribution to the financing of the country's economy during this observation period. The country's 4 largest banks - Afriland First Bank, Société Générale, ECOBANK and BICEC - alone accounts for 59.2% of total assets in the sector. In a context of improving liquidity conditions in 2018, banks remained profitable even though some of them are facing default problems and significant volumes of non-performing loans: 14.8% of total loans. Foreign banks are also more liquid than local banks (IMF, 2018).

The domination of the local banking sector by foreign privately owned banks leads to rather limited risk-taking as they prefer to lend to government, multinationals and large companies, thus hindering access to finance for SMEs, which constitute the largest part of the country's productive sector. The situation in the sector also implies a strengthening of banking supervision and regulation in order to reduce banks' risk exposure.

Financial Inclusion

Table 1: Key indicators of financial inclusion

Cameroon

Sub-Saharan Africa

Percentage of adults (aged 15 and over) with an account at a financial institution

34.6%

42.6%

Adult women with accounts

30%

36.9%

Rural adults with accounts

29.2%

39.5%

Percentage of adults with a mobile money account

15.1%

20.9%

Percentage of the adult population making or receiving digital payments

28.6%

34.4%


Source: The Little Data Book on Financial Inclusion - 2018

A report published by The Economist Intelligent Unit, "The Global Microscope 2016: The enabling environment for financial inclusion", ranks Cameroon 11th among African countries in terms of promoting financial inclusion. While the rate of access to financial services in the country barely exceeded 10% 5 years ago, it is currently 20%, mainly due to the emergence of mobile money-based financial services offered by the two main mobile operators, Orange and MTN, which have also facilitated transactions from bank accounts to mobile money accounts. According to official figures, the two leaders in the telecommunications market in Cameroon currently have nearly 5 million users of mobile money services. In 2013, the Cameroonian government imposed the use of banking services on all civil servants whose salaries were equal to or higher than CFAF 100,000, thus helping to ensure that a significant proportion of the 260,000 civil servants had access to banking services.

Microfinance

With regard to microfinance, as at 31 December 2017, 3.03 million accounts had been opened in Cameroon's microfinance institutions, while 2.14 million had been opened in credit institutions operating in the country. In the same year, the total balance sheet of Cameroonian microfinance institutions amounted to CFAF 455 billion (USD 833.4 million). Activa, a leading insurance company, and the telecom operator, Orange, have also launched micro-insurance products accessible via mobile phones.

As announced in January 2018, the government is preparing a national financial inclusion strategy to facilitate SMEs' access to bank loans. CEMAC Member States have put in place a favourable regulatory framework for the development of certain specialized financing for SMEs, such as leasing. This is the case with Law No. 2010/020 of 21 December 2010 on the organization of leasing in Cameroon. In addition, the numerous complaints from the SME sector led the government to create a bank dedicated to SMEs a few years ago: the Cameroon Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises.

Remittances

Migrant remittances amounted to USD 278 million in 2017, or 0.79% of GDP, compared to USD 109 million in 2010, or 0.38% of GDP. About 5 million Cameroonians (21% of the population) live abroad. The flow of remittances is low compared to other African countries such as Nigeria, Egypt or Ethiopia. The bulk of remittances to Cameroon are for household consumption or investment in human capital (such as education and health). They are also used for other types of transactions, including real estate investment, savings, the development of commercial activities and, to a lesser extent, organisation of events such as funerals, weddings and others.

Insurance sector

According to figures provided by the Ministry of Finance, the insurance sector was estimated at CFAF 208.7 billion (USD 335 million) in 2016, or 1.1% of GDP in the same year. 26 companies drive the Cameroonian insurance market: 16 companies in the non-life "IARDT" branch - representing 70.75% of the market share - and 10 companies in the "LIFE" branch. 4 insurance companies own more than 53.6% of the non-life market (Source: Investing in Cameroon). Only 2% of the Cameroonian population has subscribed to an insurance policy, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for the sector's development.  In May 2018, the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA), the regulatory and supervisory institution for the sector in 14 member countries, amended the limitation period regarding provisions, under which insurers must settle outstanding claims, in order to make the sector more efficient and credible to policyholders. In 2017, the government announced the introduction of the universal health coverage system, which should be implemented by the end of 2018, and allocated initial funding of CFAF 1,300 billion (USD 2.2 billion). This initiative should also increase the penetration rate of the insurance sector in Cameroon.

In May 2017, Zenith Insurance launched Cameroon's first digital platform, which offers the ability to pay premiums online, demonstrating the value of the digital channel as a commercial instrument for much higher insurance penetration in the country. Indeed, digitization will make it possible to calibrate insurance products for citizens with low and modest incomes, and thus promote the development of micro-insurance.  With regard to the challenges faced by the sector, the main features are limited savings mobilization (low penetration), an unsatisfactory claims settlement framework, insufficient application of international norms and standards, and governance issues related to information systems and actuarial and strategic approaches.

Table 2: The Cameroonian insurance sector in the CIMA zone (Turnover in millions of CFA francs)

 

2014

2015

2016

2017 (prov.)

2018 (est.)

WAEMU

548,703

620,649

690,338

751,714

836,967

Cameroon

161,270

182,079

185,019

195,562

208,741

Central African Republic

2,338

3,157

4,432

4,639

5,878

Congo

71,002

95,149

94,013

60,001

59,328

Gabon

121,449

118,846

102,431

96,558

89,577

Equa. Guinea

16,349

15,570

11,319

11,894

10,823

Chad

13,645

14,448

12 437

12,152

11,734

CEMAC

386,054

429,248

409,653

380,806

386,081

CIMA

934,757

1,049,898

1,099,990

1,132,519

1,223,048

Source : CIMA

Stock exchange

While CEMAC countries jointly launched a joint regional stock exchange in 2008, Cameroon continues to have its own stock exchange, the Douala Stock Exchange (DSX), created in 2001. Three companies are listed on the market with an estimated market capitalization of about CFAF 150 billion, or USD 0.26 billion. The recent ranking of the Cameroonian financial market (Douala Stock Exchange) in the top 20 of the OMFIF's Absa Africa Financial Markets 2018 Index reveals that "Cameroon's market capitalization represents only 1% of its GDP, while Nigeria's stands at 10% and 26% in Côte d'Ivoire". Under the leadership of the regional heads of state and the central bank (BEAC), the 2 Central African stock exchanges merged in July 2019. The headquarters of the regional stock exchange was transferred from Libreville to Douala, while the single financial markets regulator was established in Libreville, Gabon.

The bond market is almost dominated by government issues. Since 2017, the Cameroon government has limited itself to issuing government securities with maturities of up to 52 weeks (one year), following the limited success of the two-year Treasury bond issue in recent years. Of the CFAF 204 billion recently raised on the Douala Stock Exchange through the fifth government bond issue, local investors managed to raise up to CFAF 196.3 billion (USD 3.37 billion), representing 90% of the desired amount. The fifth bond issue issued by the new Cameroon government is designed to finance some 40 ongoing projects in the country's ten regions (including major infrastructure projects).

Social security system

The pension system's coverage rate is 13%. According to Gbongué et al (2015), Cameroon's social security system includes 2 systems: (i) the workers' scheme governed by the Labour Code, managed by the National Social Insurance Fund (CNPS); and (ii) the civil servants' scheme, managed by the State (Ministry of the Economy and Finance). The basic pension plan is mandatory, with defined benefits and financed via the pay-as-you-go system. Reforms are being implemented to improve the Cameroonian pension system's governance and to address the deficit pressures of the pay-as-you-go system.


Contact Details Information of Banks Operating in Cameroon

BANKS

ADDRESS

PHONE

EMAIL

WEBSITE

AFRILAND FIRST BANK

 BP: 11834 Yaoundé

 (+237)  22 23 30 68

 firstbank@afrilandfirstbank.com

 https://www.afrilandfirstbank.com

 BANQUE ATLANTIQUE DU CAMEROUN

 Pont Joss Doual Bonanjo BP 2933
Douala

 (+237)33 43 20 55

 eric.zoa@banqueatlantique.net

 https://www.afrilandfirstbank.com

 BANQUE INTERNATIONALE DU CAMEROUN POUR L'EPARGNE ET LE CREDIT

 Avenue Charles de Gaulle

 (+237) 33 42 85 76

 bicec@bicec.banquepopulaire.com

 bicec.com/

 COMMERCIAL BANK OF CAMEROON

 B P 4004 DOUALA

 (+237)33 42 02 02

 cbcbank@camnet.cm

 www.sgcobac.org/

 CITIBANK CAMEROUN

 BP 4571 DOUALA

 (+237) 33 42 42 72

 

 https://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/countries-and.../cameroon.ht

 ECOBANK 

 Rue Lvy French, Bonanjo
BP 582
Douala

 (+237) 33 43 13 63

 ecobankcm@ecobank.com

 https://www.ecobank.com/

 SOCIETE COMMERCIALE DE BANQUE CAMEROUN

  Avenue Kennedy - BP 700 Yaounde 

 (+237) 33 43 54 00

 Scb.Cameroun@scbcameroun.com

 https://www.scbcameroun.net/

 SOCIETE GENERALE DES BANQUES

 10 rue Joss, BP 4042 - Douala

 (+237) 442 70 04

 sgbcdla@camnet.cm

 https://societegenerale.cm/fr/

 UBA CAMEROUN

 B.P 2088 DOUALA 1144 DOUALA-BOULEVARD DE LA LIBERTE
 

 (+237) 33 43 36 39

 ubacameroon@ubagroup.com

 https://www.ubagroup.com/countries/cm

 BANQUE CAMEROUNAISE DES PETITES ET MOYENNES ENTREPRISES

 Carrefour Nlongkak,

Rue Albert ATEBA EBE

B.P 12962 Yaoundé

contact@bc-pme.cm

 

  contact@bcpme.cm

 www.bc-pme.cm/

 BGFI BANK CAMEROUN

 Avenue de Gaule, Angle Rue Carras, Douala, Bonanjo, BP: 660 Douala

 (+237) 33 42 64 64 

 j.bokandjo@bgfi.com

 https://cameroun.groupebgfibank.com/

 STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

 B P 1784 DOUALA AKWA, 1143 BLD DE LA LIBERTE

 (+237) 33435200

 standardchatered@cm.standardchatered.com

 https://www.sc.com/cm/

 UNION BANK OF CAMEROON

 B P 110 BAMENDA

 (+237) 33 36 23 14

  ubc@unionbankcameroon.com

 www.unionbankcameroon.com/

TOTAL

15

     

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Source

At a Glance

At a Glance Source
Population in thousands (2019): 25,816.38
GDP per capita (current US$) 2019 - World Average 10,721.61: 1,497.90
Account (%) age 15+) - (2014 vs 2017): 12% | 35%
Agriculture Orientation Index - Credit (Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries share of GDP) (2015 vs 2016): n/a
Financial Inclusion Strategies: n/a
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP) 2017: 16.56
Made or received digital payments in the past year (% age 15+) (2014 vs 2017): 8% | 29%
Remittances % of GDP for 2018: 0.0086
Mortgage Interest Rate / Mortgage Term (years): 20% | 20

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Dec 10, 2019 | International Monetary Fund
Jun 30, 2018 | UNCDF MAP, FinMark Trust | FinMark Trust
Jun 30, 2018 | UNHCR, UNCDF | UNHCR