STEPS TO REGISTER AN NGO IN CAMEROON

To register an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Cameroon, the Law No. 99/014 of 22nd December 1999 must be complied with. This law regulates the formalities/steps to register an NGO in Cameroon. A Non-Governmental Organization is a declared Association or foreign association. Any person desirous to register an NGO in Cameroon must understand that a Non-Governmental Organization is authorized to participate in the execution of missions of general interest. In Cameroon Non-Governmental Organizations are also referred to as Civil Society Organizations(CSO). NGO registration in Cameroon is done in accordance with the legal framework established by Law No 99/014 of 22nd December 1999 and Law No 90/053 of 19th December 1990 on the freedom of association. These laws provide the legal guidance for registering a non-governmental organization in Cameroon. To register an NGO in Cameroon, the interested applicant must know the difference between an NGO and an Association. A major difference between a non-governmental organization and an association is its legal framework. An association is more liberal whilst an NGO is subject to certain formalities. A non-governmental organization can benefit from international support whilst a association is limited to the confines of the national territory. NGOs in Cameroon are managed by a Board of Trustees. This Board of Trustees are responsible for the direction, supervision and success of the activities of the Non-Governmental Organization. The rules governing non-governmental organizations in Cameroon permit the organization to accept gifts, legacies, and subventions. To register an NGO in Cameroon, the applicant must know that there is a difference in procedure when it concerns an International NGO wishing to operate in Cameroon and a Local NGO of Cameroon origin. However, for purposes of clarity, some questions are frequently asked by interested applicants to wit;

Persons of 18 years of age and above, who have a good criminal record, not bankrupt nor insane.

An NGO can have a minimum of 4 members in Cameroon.

The membership clause is aimed at providing to conditions of eligibility to be a member of an NGO registered in Cameroon.

The following offices have to be established to register an NGO in Cameroon;

  1. The office of the president
  2. The office of the Secretary General
  3. The office of the financial secretary/Treasurer
  4. The office of the Legal adviser
  5. The programs officer
  6. The technical adviser etc.

There are several reasons/objectives acceptable to register an NGO in Cameroon. They are as follows;

  1. Philanthropy: This objective are based on the free will of the NGO registered in Cameroon to provide assistance in the field of health, education, vocational training programs etc. to less privileged persons and victims of situations like conflicts in a given society .
  2. Human Rights: This objective is aimed at fighting for the rights of the less privileged in any society in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights principles.
  3. Election: This objective is aimed at encouraging free and fair elections in any given society.
  4. Religion: This objective is aimed at promoting the tenets and practices of a given religion.
  5. Skill/Sport: This objective is aimed at building and promoting skill among under privileged persons in a given society.
  6. Poverty Alleviation: This objective has as aim to promote programs in view to enhance development and reduce poverty levels in any given society.
  7. Health: This objective has as aim to provide health care services at subsidized rates to less privileged persons in a given society.

Members of the executive bureau/board are selected through elections by the general assembly. The commitment of members are a pivotal factor for election into the executive bureau/board.

Yes a foreigner can be a member in view to register an NGO in Cameroon.

Yes. A foreigner can uphold any executive office in an NGO registered in Cameroon.

It is advisable for members of the executive bureau/board to be elected for a three year term renewable.

The constitution of an NGO to be registered in Cameroon is authenticated by the signature of the executive members of the NGO alongside their specific information required by law.

An acknowledgment of receipt will be issued by the bureau of the Sub-Prefect and Prefect attached to the constitution and accompanied by the following

  1. A reference number affiliated to the Service of Social and Cultural Affairs,
  2. The objectives of the Association,
  3. The tabular format of the persons running the Association, and
  4. The fact that the NGO shall operate in conformity with Article 7 of Law No. 90/053 of 19/12/90 relating to the functioning of associations in Cameroon.
  5. The official stamp of the Prefect will be affixed on all the pages of the constitution. This is only after possible after fulfilment of all the conditions required for the constitution to be properly drafted.

This is an agreement which is granted by the Government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Territorial Administration to a duly registered Association or Civil Society Organization in Cameroon which has completed the successful three year activity period in Cameroon from the date it was registered.

According to article 4 of law No 99/014 of December 1999 regulating NGOs in Cameroon, all associations regularly declared or all international associations duly authorized to operate in Cameroon which justify a 3 years contribution in the priority domain of law, economy, social, cultural, humanitarian, health, sports, environmental protection in Cameroon can be granted the agreement to obtain the status of an NGO in Cameroon.

An NGO, Association or Civil Society Organization has a lifespan of 99 years to exist in Cameroon.

Yes, the founders or mandates of the NGO has to deposit at the office of the Governor of the region in which the NGO head quarters is situate or as the case may be the place of its principal establishment in accordance with article 6 of law No 99/014 of December 1999 regulating NGOs in Cameroon.

No. when the governor receives the agreement from the founder, he has a deadline of 15 days from the date of deposit of the agreement file at his service to transmit the file to the commission in charge of applications for an NGO status agreement.

Yes, in exceptional circumstances per article 5 of law No 99/014 of December 1999. The founder or representative who made the application is obliged to produce to this effect; a stamped application which contains the name of the organisation, objects, head office address, names, profession and domicile of the founder or representative, the programe of the activities and copies of the constitution of the organisation.

The agreement to an NGO status is granted after a positive feedback from the commission and the decree of the Minister of Territorial Administration.

An NGO status agreement per article 10 of Law No. 99/014 of December 1999 has a 5 years validity period.

According to article 11 of law No. 99/014 of December 1999, such an agreement is personal, non-transferable and unassignable.

According to article 19 of law No. 99/014 of December 1999, NGOs can fuse or split in view to effectively and efficiently accomplish their missions.

NGOs in Cameroon can be affiliated to one another be they local NGOs or International NGOs without a change in their constitution in so far as they have the same objectives.

Per article 18 of Law No 99/014 of December 1999, NGOs are to benefit from tax exoneration in conformity with the General Tax Code (Directorate General of Taxes, Ministry of Economy and Finance). Moreover, the customs and tax regime applicable to NGOs is determined as per needs by the finance law of Cameroon.

Yes. If the required elements are not contained in the constitution of the NGO or Association. It is advised that a competent Attorney prepare the constitution in strict due diligence. The absence of one element is sufficient for a rejection. Once an application to register an NGO or Association is rejected, the file is given back to the applicant and the constitution must be re-done.

The Association must have successfully organized seminars and workshops in the priority areas as stipulated by the law, make donations, show proof of positive impacts in the Cameroon society through their activities, show proof of monthly and yearly reports, and yearly audits of their financial activities.

Yes. Membership can be lost under the following circumstances;

  1. Willful resignation
  2. Mental incapacity of the member
  3. When the member is involved in criminal activity and has been convicted of the crime
  4. A member who has ceased to observe the objectives and mission of the NGO etc.

STEPS TO REGISTER AN NGO/ASSOCIATION IN CAMEROON

HOW TO REGISTER AN NGO IN CAMEROON? WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO REGISTER AN NGO IN CAMEROON?

To register an NGO in Cameroon, the interested person must ensure that the activities of the organization fall within the priority domains as established through the legal text. These domains include; legal, economic, social, health, education, culture, humanitarian etc. The other modalities to be fulfilled before the registration process is engaged are as follows;

  1. The Name, abbreviation and objectives
  2. constitutive general assembly
  3. format of elected executive etc.

REGISTRATION PROCESS TO ACQUIRE AN NGO STATUS AFTER THE THREE YEAR PERIOD OF AN ASSOCIATION

The process to register an NGO in Cameroon, entail the production of certain documents by your attorney to be submitted. These documents include but not limited to;

  1. An application
  2. A copy of the declaration receipt or the authorization
  3. An evaluation report of activities for the last three years and the program of activities
  4. The minutes of the extra-ordinary general assembly serving as a constituent assembly of the non-governmental organization.
  5. The name, goals and headquarter of the non-governmental organization as well as the names, profession and residence of those who are in charge of the administration or management etc.

The competent authority will receive and study the file and a response is delivered upon approval from the Ministry of Territorial Administration in accordance with the December 1999 Law.

MODALITIES TO REGISTER AN INTERNATIONAL NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION IN CAMEROON

The procedure to register an international NGO is different from the steps to register an NGO in Cameroon. The steps to register an international NGO in Cameroon are as follows;

  1. The country Director will have to get accreditation from the mother NGO.
  2. The documents of the mother NGO and the Cameroon branch will be compiled and addressed to MINAT.
  3. MINAT shall seize MINREX to verify the authenticity and seriousness of the mother NGO.
  4. The country director will be investigated by the DGSN and a morality report drawn up.
  5. The authorization shall be issued by MINAT upon a positive outcome of the procedure.

DISSOLUTION

The Minister in charge of territorial Administration can after receiving justifiable reasons from the commission, suspend by decree for a 3 year period all NGO activities which do not comply with its objectives.

NGOs can be dissolved in the following cases;