Legal Market Overview
2021 saw Cameroon continue its gradual economic rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching a reported output matching pre-pandemic numbers. Even though the vaccination rate of Cameroonians remains low, available data indicates cases have dropped off precipitously since its highest point in April 2021. More stability in the market in 2021 after the initial shock naturally lead to an increase in legal mandates from foreign investors seeking to resume their activities. Additionally, Cameroon remained steadfast in hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, the biggest football competition in Africa, after delaying its start from 2021 until the beginning of 2022. However, in the later months of 2021 renewed rounds of separatist attacks lead to the displacement of civilians in the northern region, making it clear that full regional stability has yet to be achieved.
The market is one of the most sophisticated in West and Central Africa, and lawyers often advise on matters covering numerous jurisdictions, not just in Cameroon, due in part to the successful attempt to introduce uniformity in corporate law across the region with OHADA. Legal practices are often split into either Anglophone and Francophone specialists, although there is crossover between the two groups, and many partners are bi- or trilingual. Additionally, law firms are almost all generalists, with heavy emphasis on advising major international players in energy, mining, oil and gas, and infrastructure seeking inbound investment into Cameroon and the OHADA region more broadly.
A trend in recent years has seen a rise in relatively newer firms founded by returning Cameroonian lawyers that practised in the US and Europe, such as Chazai & Partners and D. Moukouri & Partners. Additionally, longstanding legal firms such as Amadagana & Partners and Ngassam, Fansi & Mouafo, Avocats Associés continue to advise corporate clients on all Cameroonian legal matters.