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Africa :: Cameroon
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  • Introduction :: CAMEROON

  • French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the southern portion of neighboring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon. The country has generally enjoyed stability, which has enabled the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.
  • Geography :: CAMEROON

  • Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
    6 00 N, 12 00 E
    total: 475,440 sq km
    land: 472,710 sq km
    water: 2,730 sq km
    slightly larger than California
    total: 5,018 km
    border countries (6): Central African Republic 901 km, Chad 1,116 km, Republic of the Congo 494 km, Equatorial Guinea 183 km, Gabon 349 km, Nigeria 1,975 km
    402 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north
    diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Cameroon Mountain)
    petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
    agricultural land: 20.6%
    arable land 13.1%; permanent crops 3.3%; permanent pasture 4.2%
    forest: 41.7%
    other: 37.7% (2011 est.)
    256.5 sq km (2003)
    285.5 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.97 cu km/yr (23%/10%/68%)
    per capita: 58.9 cu m/yr (2005)
    volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
    volcanism: Mt. Cameroon (elev. 4,095 m), which last erupted in 2000, is the most frequently active volcano in West Africa; lakes in Oku volcanic field have released fatal levels of gas on occasion, killing some 1,700 people in 1986
    waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
  • People and Society :: CAMEROON

  • noun: Cameroonian(s)
    adjective: Cameroonian
    Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%
    24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
    indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 42.9% (male 5,001,984/female 4,927,122)
    15-24 years: 19.6% (male 2,286,244/female 2,257,231)
    25-54 years: 30.4% (male 3,529,203/female 3,491,125)
    55-64 years: 3.9% (male 445,181/female 468,388)
    65 years and over: 3.1% (male 337,490/female 386,740) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 85.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 79.1%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6%
    potential support ratio: 16.8% (2014 est.)
    total: 18.3 years
    male: 18.2 years
    female: 18.4 years (2014 est.)
    2.6% (2014 est.)
    36.58 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    10.4 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 53.8% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 3.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    YAOUNDE (capital) 2.93 million; Douala 2.838 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011 est.)
    590 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 55.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 58.78 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 51.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 57.35 years
    male: 56.09 years
    female: 58.65 years (2014 est.)
    4.82 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    23.4% (2011)
    5.1% of GDP (2013)
    0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    urban: 94.1% of population
    rural: 51.9% of population
    total: 74.1% of population
    urban: 5.9% of population
    rural: 48.1% of population
    total: 25.9% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 61.7% of population
    rural: 26.8% of population
    total: 45.2% of population
    urban: 38.3% of population
    rural: 73.2% of population
    total: 54.8% of population (2012 est.)
    4.27% (2013 est.)
    603,800 (2013 est.)
    43,600 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2013)
    9.6% (2014)
    15.1% (2011)
    3% of GDP (2012)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 75%
    male: 81.2%
    female: 68.9% (2015 est.)
    total: 10 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 10 years (2011)
    total number: 1,396,281
    percentage: 31% (2006 est.)
  • Government :: CAMEROON

  • conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon
    conventional short form: Cameroon
    local long form: Republique du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroon
    local short form: Cameroun/Cameroon
    former: French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon
    republic; multiparty presidential regime
    name: Yaounde
    geographic coordinates: 3 52 N, 11 31 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    10 regions (regions, singular - region); Adamaoua, Centre, East (Est), Far North (Extreme-Nord), Littoral, North (Nord), North-West (Nord-Ouest), West (Ouest), South (Sud), South-West (Sud-Ouest)
    1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
    State Unification Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
    several previous; latest effective 18 January 1996; amended 2008 (2008)
    mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
    20 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)
    head of government: Prime Minister Philemon YANG (since 30 June 2009)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (with no term limits per 2008 constitutional amendment); election last held on 9 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2018); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 78.0%, John FRU NDI 10.7%, Garga Haman ADJI 3.2%, Adamou Ndam NJOYA 1.7%, Paul Abine AYAH 1.3%, other 5.1%
    description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (100 seats; 70 members indirectly elected by regional councils and 30 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the 100-member Senate was formed at the time of the April 2013 election
    elections: Senate last held on 14 April 2013 (next to be held in 2018); National Assembly last held on 30 September 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: Senate percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 56, SDF 14; National Assembly percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 148, SDF 18, UNDP 5, UDC 4, UPC 3, other 2
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cameroon (consists of 9 titular and 6 surrogate judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and audit chambers); Constitutional Council (consists of 11 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Higher Judicial Council of Cameroon, a body chaired by the president and includes the minister of justice, selected magistrates, and representatives of the National Assembly; judge term NA; Constitutional Council members appointed by the president for single 9-year terms
    subordinate courts: Parliamentary Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases involving the president and prime minister); appellate and first instance courts; circuit and magistrate's courts
    Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA]
    Cameroon People's Party or CPP [Edith Kah WALLA]
    Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]
    Movement for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole DAISSALA]
    Movement for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or MLDC [Marcel YONDO]
    National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari BELLO BOUBA]
    Progressive Movement or MP [Jean-Jacques EKINDI]
    Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]
    Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Provisionary Management Bureau]
    Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa [REDHAC, Maximilliene Ngo MBE]
    Tribunal 53 [Patrice NGANANG]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA (since 12 September 2008)
    chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; current temporary address - 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790
    FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826
    chief of mission: Ambassador Michael Stephen HOZA (since 19 September 2014)
    embassy: Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaounde
    mailing address: P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520
    telephone: [237] 22220 15 00; Consular: [237] 22220 16 03
    FAX: [237] 22220 15 00 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 22220 17 52
    branch office(s): Douala
    three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow, with a yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band; the vertical tricolor recalls the flag of France; red symbolizes unity, yellow the sun, happiness, and the savannahs in the north, and green hope and the forests in the south; the star is referred to as the "star of unity"
    note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
    lion; national colors: green, red, yellow
    name: "O Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancetres" (O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers)
    lyrics/music: Rene Djam AFAME, Samuel Minkio BAMBA, Moise Nyatte NKO'O [French], Benard Nsokika FONLON [English]/Rene Djam AFAME
    note: adopted 1957; Cameroon's anthem, also known as "Chant de Ralliement" (The Rallying Song), has been used unofficially since 1948 and officially adopted in 1957; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ
  • Economy :: CAMEROON

  • Modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions provide Cameroon with one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Cameroon’s economy suffers from political and economic factors that often impact underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, the continuing inefficiencies of a large parastatal system in key sectors, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. Since 1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The IMF continues to press for economic reforms, including increased budget transparency, privatization, and poverty reduction programs. The Government of Cameroon provides subsidies for electricity, food, and fuel that have strained the federal budget diverting funds from education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects. Cameroon devotes significant resources to several large infrastructure projects under construction, including a deep sea port in Kribi and the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. Cameroon’s energy sector continues to diversify, recently opening a natural gas powered electricity generating plant. Oil remains Cameroon’s main export commodity accounting for nearly 40% of export earnings despite falling global oil prices. Cameroon continues to seek foreign investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, create jobs and improve its economic footprint but its unfavorable business environment remains a significant deterrent to foreign investment.
    $67.23 billion (2014 est.)
    $63.98 billion (2013 est.)
    $60.67 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $32.16 billion (2014 est.)
    5.1% (2014 est.)
    5.5% (2013 est.)
    4.6% (2012 est.)
    $3,000 (2014 est.)
    $2,900 (2013 est.)
    $2,800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 190
    16.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    17.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    17.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 68.9%
    government consumption: 14%
    investment in fixed capital: 21%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 28.6%
    imports of goods and services: -32.5%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 19.9%
    industry: 27.6%
    services: 52.5% (2014 est.)
    coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc, tapioca); livestock; timber
    petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
    4.9% (2014 est.)
    9.105 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 70%
    industry: 13%
    services: 17% (2001 est.)
    30% (2001 est.)
    48% (2000 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)
    44.6 (2001)
    47.7 (1996)
    revenues: $5.503 billion
    expenditures: $6.92 billion (2014 est.)
    17.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -4.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    22.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    19.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    1 July - 30 June
    2.2% (2014 est.)
    1.9% (2013 est.)
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    13.8% (31 December 2014 est.)
    14% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $3.861 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.988 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $6.439 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $6.633 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $3.318 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.114 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $230 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    $-1.253 billion (2014 est.)
    $-1.332 billion (2013 est.)
    $6.376 billion (2014 est.)
    $5.819 billion (2013 est.)
    crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
    Portugal 18.5%, Spain 10%, Netherlands 8.4%, US 6.4%, China 6.3%, India 5.1%, France 4.6% (2013)
    $6.937 billion (2014 est.)
    $6.484 billion (2013 est.)
    machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
    China 23.2%, France 14%, Nigeria 10.8%, Belgium 5.6%, US 5.1%, India 4.4% (2013)
    $3.503 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.384 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $5.006 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $4.217 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per dollar -
    491.2 (2014 est.)
    494.04 (2013 est.)
    510.53 (2012 est.)
    471.87 (2011 est.)
    495.28 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: CAMEROON

  • 5.857 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    5.267 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    1.007 million kW (2011 est.)
    28.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    71.4% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    62,760 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    55,680 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    34,220 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    200 million bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    43,500 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    29,680 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    13,370 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    6,018 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    165 million cu m (2012 est.)
    165 million cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    6.224 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: CAMEROON

  • 737,400 (2012)
    13.1 million (2012)
    general assessment: system includes cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter; Camtel, the monopoly provider of fixed-line service, provides connections for only about 3 per 100 persons; equipment is old and outdated, and connections with many parts of the country are unreliable
    domestic: mobile-cellular usage, in part a reflection of the poor condition and general inadequacy of the fixed-line network, has increased sharply, reaching a subscribership base of 50 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 237; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    government maintains tight control over broadcast media; state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), broadcasting on both a TV and radio network, was the only officially recognized and fully licensed broadcaster until August 2007 when the government finally issued licenses to 2 private TV broadcasters and 1 private radio broadcaster; about 70 privately owned, unlicensed radio stations operating but are subject to closure at any time; foreign news services required to partner with state-owned national station (2007)
    AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2001)
    1 (2001)
    10,207 (2012)
    749,600 (2009)
  • Transportation :: CAMEROON

  • 33 (2013)
    total: 11
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 22
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    8 (2013)
    gas 53 km; liquid petroleum gas 5 km; oil 1,107 km; water 35 km (2013)
    total: 1,245 km
    narrow gauge: 1,245 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    total: 51,350 km
    paved: 4,108 km
    unpaved: 47,242 km
    note: there are 28,857 km of national roads (2011)
    (major rivers in the south, such as the Wouri and the Sanaga, are largely non-navigable; in the north, the Benue, which connects through Nigeria to the Niger River, is navigable in the rainy season only to the port of Garoua) (2010)
    river port(s): Douala (Wouri); Garoua (Benoue)
    oil terminal(s): Limboh Terminal
  • Military :: CAMEROON

  • Cameroon Armed Forces (Forces Armees Camerounaises, FAC), Army (L'Armee de Terre), Navy (Marine Nationale Republique (MNR), includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Fire Fighter Corps, Gendarmerie (2013)
    18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years; periodic government calls for volunteers (2012)
    males age 16-49: 4,667,251
    females age 16-49: 4,548,909 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 2,794,998
    females age 16-49: 2,718,110 (2010 est.)
    male: 215,248
    female: 211,636 (2010 est.)
    1.42% of GDP (2012)
    1.37% of GDP (2011)
    1.42% of GDP (2010)
  • Transnational Issues :: CAMEROON

  • Joint Border Commission with Nigeria reviewed 2002 ICJ ruling on the entire boundary and bilaterally resolved differences, including June 2006 Greentree Agreement that immediately ceded sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with a full phase-out of Nigerian control and patriation of residents in 2008; Cameroon and Nigeria agreed on maritime delimitation in March 2008; sovereignty dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty, which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries
    refugees (country of origin): 243,549 (Central African Republic); 42,183 (Nigeria) (2015)
    IDPs: 117,700 (2015)