Cameroon flag Cameroon: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Cameroon

Foreign Trade in Figures

Cameroon is open to international trade. It is a member of the Commonwealth, the CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The ratio of trade to GDP is around 37% (World Bank, 2021).

Its main export commodities are fuel (oil, gas), minerals (coal, aluminium), wood, cocoa, cotton, and rubber. Cameroon mainly imports mineral fuels and oil, food (rice, wheat, fish, etc.), medicines, and manufactured products (vehicles, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment). Cameroon’s main export partners are China, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Spain and India. Its main import suppliers are China, France, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Thailand, the United States and Togo. Cameroon signed a free trade agreement with the European Union in August 2016. For some years now, Eastern Asian countries (especially China, Japan, India, and Thailand) have been reinforcing their trade ties with Cameroon.

Cameroon's trade balance is structurally negative. According to WTO data, in 2021 Cameroon recorded a trade deficit of USD 2 billion. The same source reported that the country imported USD 6.1 billion worth of goods against USD 4.1 billion for exports. Service exports generated 1.55 billion USD while service imports amounted to 2.24 billion USD in 2020 (WTO, latest available data). In 2021 imports of goods and services increased by 13.8% compared to 2020, much faster than exports (3.4%) (World Bank).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,6566,5835,5216,9817,800
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,8034,0843,1324,3175,900
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,7052,8232,1172,4972,701
Exports of Services (million USD) 2,1172,2051,7091,4431,836

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 40.643.433.737.139.9
Trade Balance (million USD) -533-737-679-524n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -1,121-1,355-1,088-1,579n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.511.4-17.113.8-3.7
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.111.2-14.43.43.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.923.518.520.420.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 18.719.915.216.719.4

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 12.25.57.28.89.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 11.75.45.84.94.5

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Cameroon is open to a large extent to international trade. It is a member of the Commonwealth as well as that of the Franc Zone. In order to facilitate trade relations, these countries have signed treaties and agreements to simplify trade. In this way Cameroon has signed agreement with the European Union.

It should also be noted that Cameroon also has trade agreements with countries such as Tunisia, Nigeria and China.

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
China 25.9%
Netherlands 12.4%
India 9.7%
Italy 7.2%
Spain 6.1%
See More Countries 38.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 17.0%
France 9.0%
India 7.2%
Belgium 3.8%
Türkiye 3.5%
See More Countries 59.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

4.3 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 40.6%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roastedCocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 11.2%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 10.6%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled,...Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 7.2%
Cotton, neither carded nor combedCotton, neither carded nor combed 6.0%
See More Products 24.4%
7.0 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 15.9%
RiceRice 5.4%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 4.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 4.3%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 3.5%
See More Products 66.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: February 2024

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