How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in Cameroon

Cersai Stark

Cersai Stark

Understanding the law that governs the establishment of NPOs (Nonprofit Organizations) is one crucial aspect to consider when seeking how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon. 

The law demands that nonprofits adhere to Law No. 99/014 of December 22, 1999. Also, in the country, NPOs can be referred to as Civil Society Organizations. Hence, the legislative framework on the freedom of association governs their registration.

In this article, we will outline the legal guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon


How to start a nonprofit
How to start a nonprofit


  • In Cameroon, an NPO must have a minimum of four members.  
  • Executive positions in an NPO may be held by a foreigner.
  • It is best to hire a qualified attorney to draft the nonprofit constitution with meticulous care


What are some of the preregistration tips to consider?

To emphasize, each country has specific procedures and policies that govern NPO incorporation. As a result, interested applicants must acquaint themselves with the NPO laws for a given country. 

It is also important to understand the difference between an NPO and an Association when seeking how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon. This is because a non-governmental organization and an association differ significantly in their legal structures. Given this, applicants must compare both to determine what framework is preferable for the organization. 

An association can operate with more freedom, whereas an NPO must follow laid down procedures. And while an association is constrained to the boundaries of the national territory, an NPO might benefit from support on a global scale. Furthermore, an NPO is allowed to accept contributions, bequests, and subventions under its governing laws. 

What are the guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon?

Altogether, we have successfully defined the boundaries for NPOs in Cameroon. Hence, we will go further to outline the step-by-step processes on how to start a nonprofit.

1. Choose the name of your nonprofit and the abbreviation

Begin by deciding on your organization’s name. This is crucial as it describes your nonprofit to a large extent. 

Also, you must always include the words “Association” or “Foundation” in the name to indicate what your NPO does.

2. Outline the missions and objectives of the nonprofit

A mission statement and objective reveal what the NPO seeks to achieve and the impact it intends to make in the community. To begin with, there are a variety of justifications and goals that an NPO might register for in Cameroon. This could be to undertake acts of philanthropy, defend human rights, promote religion, health, or poverty alleviation, among others.

3. Choose your trustees and members

When choosing your board of trustees and members, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, each person must be at least 18 years old and have a clean criminal record. Likewise, they must be individuals with sound minds and the ability to undertake their responsibilities. 

In Cameroon, an NPO must have a minimum of four members. Also, executive positions may be held by a foreigner.

4. Contact a licensed attorney 

This also constitutes a crucial aspect when seeking how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon. An attorney is responsible for creating the organization’s charter and registration paperwork. This also includes its legal status, annual general meetings, membership, financial management, and duration among others. 

The attorney drafts the constitution that governs the organization. At the same time, all the documents needed for the authorization and operation of the NPO are drafted by the attorney.

5. Register your nonprofit 

After a nonprofit has obtained all the required documents, the next is to submit the record for registration. 

Upon receiving a favorable response from the commission and the Minister of Territorial Administration, the organization gains the legal status of an NPO.

6. Open a bank account 

Finally, you can request the opening of a bank account in the NPO’s name with the designated signatories listed in the constitution. 


Individuals seeking how to start a nonprofit in Cameroon can adhere to the guidelines listed in this article. As a reminder to our readers, it is best to hire a qualified attorney to draft the constitution with meticulous care. This is because it takes just one missing element or detail for a rejection to occur during your Nonprofit registration process. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share your comments and suggestions with us at the bottom of this post. 

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