Canada has been represented in Cameroon since 1962 by the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé. Cameroon has also been represented by a High Commission in Ottawa since 1962.
From the start, the two countries have maintained friendly bilateral relations. They cooperate within multilateral organizations such as the International Organization of La Francophonie and the Commonwealth. Economic prosperity, the promotion of democratic values, respect for human rights, good governance and regional security are pillars of the bilateral relations between the countries, and Canada encourages concrete efforts in these areas.
After 50 years of bilateral relations, the relationship between Cameroon and Canada has evolved from that of donor-recipient to that of trading partners. The signing of Letters of Intent for a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA) in Toronto in March 2013 reflects this evolution. A Double Taxation Agreement, between Canada and Cameroon, has been in effect since January 1, 1988.
Though modest, trade relations between the two countries are well established. Cameroon is Canada’s second-largest trading partner in Central Africa. Canadian exports totalled $39.5 million, and imports $11.2 million in 2012. Canadian companies in Cameroon are mainly involved in the education, infrastructure, mining and energy sectors.
In 2009, Cameroon signed a memorandum of understanding with Rio Tinto Alcan for the construction of an aluminum smelter, two hydroelectric stations and an aluminum terminal in Kribi, for a total investment of close to US$9 billion. One of the largest private projects in Central Africa, this is also Cameroon’s largest industrial investment program.
Although CIDA’s bilateral program ended in August 2011, Cameroon continues to receive Canadian assistance through regional and multilateral initiatives. CIDA provides support through its multilateral partners working in the country, such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Global Partnership for Education.
Canada supports the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), whose objective is to strengthen implementation of the Central African Forests Commission’s (COMIFAC’s) action plan for conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Cameroon is a member of the CBFP and COMIFAC.
Cooperation between Canada and Cameroon in the forest sector is also supported by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) through the African Model Forest Initiative, a component of Canada’s global support for the sustainable development of forests under the International Model Forest Network. Since 2009, NRCan has supported the African Model Forest Network, whose secretariat is based in Yaoundé, as well as the Campo Ma’an Model Forest (southern region) and the Dja and Mpomo Model Forest (eastern region).
In 2006, Cameroon achieved the completion point of the International Monetary Fund’s and World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative. In accordance with this initiative, Canada cancelled Cameroon’s bilateral debt of $221 million.
Canada continues to fund local projects through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), which is managed by the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé. Canada also awards scholarships through the Canadian Francophonie Scholarship Program.
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