Cameroon flag Cameroon: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Cameroon

Foreign Trade in Figures

Cameroon is open to international trade, being a member of the Commonwealth, the CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and having signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The ratio of trade to GDP is around 41% (World Bank, latest data available). Its main export commodities are crude oil (43.5% of total exports in 2022), liquefied natural gas (18.1%), and cocoa (9.1%). Mineral products accounted for 26.8% of total import expenditures, of which 21.4% was composed of fuels and lubricants, and 2.8% for clinker. Agricultural products represented 12.4% of imports, followed by machinery and electrical appliances (10.6% - data INS).

During the year 2022, the five main clients of Cameroon accounted for 62% of the country's total exports, according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). These countries are the Netherlands (26.8%), India (14.2%), France (9.9%), Spain (8.5%), and Italy (6%). As per imports, the main suppliers were China (15.8%), India (10.8%), France (8.2%), the Netherlands (3.6%), and South Korea (3.5%).

Cameroon's trade balance is structurally negative. According to WTO data, in 2022 Cameroon imported USD 7.8 billion worth of goods against USD 5.9 billion for exports. Service exports generated USD 1.8 billion while service imports amounted to USD 2.7 billion. The country’s trade balance was estimated to be in deficit by 2.7% of its GDP in 2022 (World Bank).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 6,5835,5216,9817,8749,000
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4,0843,1324,3175,5844,400
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,8232,1172,4522,5420
Exports of Services (million USD) 2,2051,7091,5821,7170

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%
Russia 6.8%
Belgium 3.8%
See More Countries 56.1%

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: April 2024