Africa :: Cameroon

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 permitted 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
    country comparison to the world: 54
    land: 472,710 sq km
    water: 2,730 sq km
    slightly larger than California
    total: 4,591 km
    border countries: Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 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 Mt. Cameroon)
    petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
    arable land: 13.04%
    permanent crops: 2.94%
    other: 84.01% (2011)
    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%
    20,549,221 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    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
    0-14 years: 40% (male 4,151,140/female 4,076,797)
    15-24 years: 20.3% (male 2,107,067/female 2,066,718)
    25-54 years: 31.9% (male 3,317,740/female 3,240,609)
    55-64 years: 4.3% (male 419,751/female 468,077)
    65 years and over: 3.4% (male 319,597/female 381,725) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 85.8 %
    youth dependency ratio: 79.8 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 6 %
    potential support ratio: 16.7 (2013)
    total: 19.7 years
    male: 19.6 years
    female: 19.8 years (2013 est.)
    2.04% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    31.93 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    11.51 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    urban population: 52.1% of total population (2011)
    rate of urbanization: 3.23% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    YAOUNDE (capital) 2.432 million; Douala 2.053 million (2011)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    19.4 (2004 est.)
    690 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    total: 58.51 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 28
    male: 62.92 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 53.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 55.02 years
    country comparison to the world: 202
    male: 54.1 years
    female: 55.95 years (2013 est.)
    4 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    23.4% (2011)
    5.1% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    urban: 95% of population
    rural: 52% of population
    total: 77% of population
    urban: 5% of population
    rural: 48% of population
    total: 23% of population (2010 est.)
    urban: 58% of population
    rural: 36% of population
    total: 49% of population
    urban: 42% of population
    rural: 64% of population
    total: 51% of population (2010 est.)
    5.3% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    610,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    37,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    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)
    10.3% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    16.6% (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    3.2% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 71.3%
    male: 78.3%
    female: 64.8% (2010 est.)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 11 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)
    Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
    approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996; amended April 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
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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%
    unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - the president can either lengthen or shorten the term of the legislature
    elections: last held on 22 July 2007 (next to be held on 30 September 2013)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 140, SDF 14, UDC 4, UNDP 4, MP 1, vacant 17
    note: the constitution calls for an upper chamber for the legislature, to be called a Senate, but it has yet to be established
    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 [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
    Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]
    Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]
    Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]
    Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA
    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 Robert P. JACKSON
    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] 2220 15 00; Consular: [237] 2220 16 03
    FAX: [237] 2220 15 00 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 2220 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
    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

Energy ::Cameroon

Communications ::Cameroon

    669,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    10.486 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    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)
    10,207 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    749,600 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 106

Transportation ::Cameroon

    33 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    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
    country comparison to the world: 82
    narrow gauge: 1,245 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
    total: 50,000 km
    country comparison to the world: 79
    paved: 5,000 km
    unpaved: 45,000 km
    note: there are 28,857 km of national roads (2008)
    (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/gas terminal(s): Limboh Terminal

Military ::Cameroon

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): 91,378 (Central African Republic) (2013)