EU Relations with Cameroon

Map of CameroonMap of Cameroon

The EU and Cameroon are linked by political, economic, cooperation and cultural ties. Their relation is based on the Cotonou Agreement.

A) Politically the EU is in regular bilateral discussions with the Cameroonian authorities, including through twice-yearly formal political dialogues, foreseen in the Cotonou Agreement, and various other meetings covering a wide variety of political issues - including human rights, the rule of law, the development of democracy, as well as regional security, in particular the fight against Boko Haram. In addition, the EU is regularly exchanging with representatives of political parties as well as civil society organizations in the country. The EU and Cameroon are also connected through ongoing dialogue between the EU and regional organizations, including the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and the African Union. A concrete illustration is Cameroon's key role in the regional effort to counter piracy and illegal marine activities in the Gulf of Guinea , which the EU is supporting.

B) The EU is Cameroon's main economic partner, accounting for more than 41 % of its combined exports and imports . As the only country in the Central African region, Cameroon has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, which came provisionally into effect on 4 August 2014. This EPA allows key Cameroonian export products unprecedented free access to EU markets, while negotiations between the EU and Central African countries for a comprehensive regional arrangement continue.

C) The EU and its Member States are by far the largest donor of official development aid (ODA) to Cameroon. From 2012 to 2013 the EU institutions alone provided more than 92m €.  The EU contributes to the development of Cameroon through bilateral, regional and various thematic programmes.

The most important of these is the country specific National Indicative Programme under the European Development Fund (EDF), developed and implemented in close cooperation with national authorities and civil society. For the period 2014-2020 (11th EDF) if foresees 282m € to be mainly invested in two focal sectors:

  • Public Governance and Rule of law (84m €): i) Improvement of the management of public finances and economic governance, strengthening of public services, improved business climate and improved management of natural resources; ii) Strengthening of the rule of law, including the right to a fair trial, improvement of detention conditions and respect for human rights in the justice sector, support for involvement of civil society in public policy making.
  • Rural development (178m €): Promotion of sustainable and balanced development and inclusive economic growth in Cameroon's regions. This includes building capacities for sustainable management of natural resources and prevention of food crisis as well as improving productivity and competiveness of the agricultural sector and the food processing industry. 

In addition, Cameroon benefits from the EU's Regional Indicative Programme for Central Africa (350m € for 2014-2020 for the entire Central African region) as well as from a variety of thematic programmes, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights supporting human rights defenders and their work, as well as a programme dedicated to support of civil society organisations and local authorities. Cameroon and the EU have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement to strengthen forest governance under the FLEGT mechanism. Given its position within the Congo Basin, Cameroon also benefits from EU funding for environmental and wildlife protection.

Cameroon receives support under the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, providing a civilian response to the crisis situation created by Boko Haram in the Far North region of the country and supporting regional cooperation to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

In 2015 the EU substantially increased its humanitarian fundingtoCameroon to 13.7m €. This helps to address the needs of several hundred thousand refugees and internally displaced persons due to the attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Far North region of Cameroon as well as the conflict in the Central African Republic.

D) The EU also promotes European culture and values in Cameroon, including through the organization of events around Europe Day, and fosters exchanges of students and researchers through the Erasmus Mundus programme as well as scientific cooperation.

Did you know? The EU has had a Delegation in Yaoundé since the 1960s. It serves as an official channel for fostering the entire range of bilateral relations. In doing so it works closely together with the EU Member States Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom that are currently represented in the country, as well as with the EU Member States covering Cameroon from embassies in neighboring countries.