Foreign direct investment in Cameroon: establishing effective investment regulations
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) began as a worldwide phenomenon in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Even then, it formed only a small portion of foreign investments for decades, as a greater percentage took the form of portfolio investments. This was the case for example in 1914, when 90% of all foreign investment flows took the form of portfolio investment. Over time, however, there was a steady shift in the composition of foreign investments. In fact, about a quarter of foreign investment flows took the form of FDI in the 1920s. The drop in portfolio investments came about as a result of the collapse of the world monetary system in the 1930s, provoked by World War 1 and the Great Depression. There was, however, a general drop in the two types of investment during the interwar years. Unlike portfolio investment, FDI proved amazingly resilient and gradually recovered in the late 1930s. FDI again improved with the end of the Second World War, and became even more prominent after the 1960s in developing countries. This was not the case, however, which was yet to have its share of FDI flow. The main focus of this study is to investigate why Cameroon lags behind other developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in terms of attracting FDI in spite of its membership of, and participation in, bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment treaties, and its attractive investment policies. The above argument applies explicitly to FDI because Regional Integration Agreements (RIAs) are said to boost FDI inflows from non-member countries. It is universally acknowledged that a well-designed policy framework for investment, capable of attracting FDI, would be productive and successful. Thus, for Cameroon to be competitive in attracting FDI, it is obliged to review its investment policies which continue to face the challenges of a changing global economy.