WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OBTAINING ACCURATE CORPORATE RECORDS IN FRENCH SPEAKING AFRICAN COUNTRIES
February 9, 2021
Obtaining accurate corporate records in french speaking African countries is not a walk in the park but an experience that needs ‘GPS’ style navigation.
Obtaining corporate records in countries like Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Congo, Mali and the rest of French speaking African countries can be a difficult task, but the most challenging part is not obtaining the records but obtaining accurate and the most recent data/information for an entity.
In French Countries, Tribunals are responsible for registration and keeping records of entities, unlike in English speaking countries where business registration is done by Corporate Affairs Commissions or Office of Registrar General.
All records kept by Tribunal are considered as public records in French speaking countries, meaning any member of the public can obtain those records after paying a certain fee.
Corporate records are accessible at the tribunals, but they are often poorly kept and they are manually filed which make it difficult to access.
NEW AGENCIES IN FRENCH COUNTRIES
The good and the bad news in French speaking countries is that almost all the countries have created other agencies that are responsible for creating and storing the records of corporate entities.
They are often called One Stop Shop center for business registration, these centers work hand in hand with the tribunals to register businesses.
Say for Instance Gabon – In Gabon , tribunal used to be the only agency where companies were registered until another agency was created.
Agence Nationale de Promotion des Investissements (ANPI GABON) was created to fast track process of business registration, however people still visit the Tribunal to register business or retrieve corporate records of entities.
Obtaining corporate records at the tribunal in Gabon without obtaining same from ANPI GABON will result in obtaining records that are not accurate.
Reason being that since the creation of ANPI Gabon, any modification on entities are now done at ANPI Gabon.
You can obtain a record of same entity at the tribunal and ANPI Gabon and the two records will be different if the company has updated its records at ANPI Gabon, which most times do not reflect at the tribunal.
So when obtaining records in French speaking countries, it is advisable to obtain it from the one stop business registration agency rather than the Tribunal.
These agencies were created with the help of World Bank to help speed up process of business registration in French Speaking Countries.
They are modern, easy to approach and always have the most updated records of entities. However not all the entities record will be found at these one stop shop agencies, if the company is old and has not done any modification since the creation of the one stop shop agency then such record can only be retrieved at the tribunal.
Article by Michael Afolabi Oluwole
Sub-Saharan Africa’s Leading AML/CFT/KYC Specialist
Insurance Claims Investigator
Regular Contributor to World Bank Doing Business (Sierra Leone)