Lake Nyos is a crater lake on the flank of an inactive volcano. Magma beneath the lake leaks carbon dioxide into the waters. In 1986, the lake emitted a large cloud of carbon dioxide that suffocated nearly 1,800 people and some 3,500 livestock in nearby villages.
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Introduction

Background

Much of the area of present-day Cameroon was ruled by powerful chiefdoms before becoming a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun. After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the UK as League of Nations mandates. 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.

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Geography

Location

Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Geographic coordinates

6 00 N, 12 00 E

Area

total: 475,440 sq km

land: 472,710 sq km

water: 2,730 sq km

country comparison to the world: 56

Area - comparative

slightly larger than California; about four times the size of Pennsylvania

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

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 1975 km

Coastline

402 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

Climate

varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north

Terrain

diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north

Elevation

highest point: Fako on Mont Cameroun 4,045 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 667 m

Natural resources

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 20.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 13.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 4.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 41.7% (2018 est.)

other: 37.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

290 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Niger, Nigeria, and Chad) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
note - area varies by season and year to year

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), Niger (2,261,741 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lake Chad Basin

Population distribution

population concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes

volcanism: Mt. Cameroon (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

Geography - note

sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa because of its central location on the continent and its position at the west-south juncture of the Gulf of Guinea; 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

Map description

Cameroon map showing major cities as well as parts of surrounding countries and the Bight of Benin.

People and Society

Population

29,321,637 (2022 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly taken into account the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

country comparison to the world: 51

Nationality

noun: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups

Bamileke-Bamu 24.3%, Beti/Bassa, Mbam 21.6%, Biu-Mandara 14.6%, Arab-Choa/Hausa/Kanuri 11%, Adamawa-Ubangi, 9.8%, Grassfields 7.7%, Kako, Meka/Pygmy 3.3%, Cotier/Ngoe/Oroko 2.7%, Southwestern Bantu 0.7%, foreign/other ethnic group 4.5% (2018 est.)

Languages

24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

French audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 38.3%, Protestant 25.5%, other Christian 6.9%, Muslim 24.4%, animist 2.2%, other 0.5%, none 2.2% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Cameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25. Fertility is falling but remains at a high level, especially among poor, rural, and uneducated women, in part because of inadequate access to contraception. Life expectancy remains low at about 55 years due to the prevalence of HIV and AIDs and an elevated maternal mortality rate, which has remained high since 1990. Cameroon, particularly the northern region, is vulnerable to food insecurity largely because of government mismanagement, corruption, high production costs, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. Despite economic growth in some regions, poverty is on the rise, and is most prevalent in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of jobs, declining incomes, poor school and health care infrastructure, and a lack of clean water and sanitation. Underinvestment in social safety nets and ineffective public financial management also contribute to Cameroon’s high rate of poverty.  The activities of Boko Haram, other armed groups, and counterinsurgency operations have worsened food insecurity in the Far North region.  

International migration has been driven by unemployment (including fewer government jobs), poverty, the search for educational opportunities, and corruption. The US and Europe are preferred destinations, but, with tighter immigration restrictions in these countries, young Cameroonians are increasingly turning to neighboring states, such as Gabon and Nigeria, South Africa, other parts of Africa, and the Near and Far East. Cameroon’s limited resources make it dependent on UN support to host more than 420,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of September 2020. These refugees and asylum seekers are primarily from the Central African Republic and Nigeria.  Internal and external displacement have grown dramatically in recent years.  Boko Haram's attacks and counterattacks by government forces in the Far North since 2014 have increased the number of internally displaced people.  Armed conflict between separatists and Cameroon's military in the the Northwest and Southwest since 2016 have displaced hundreds of thousands of the country's Anglophone minority.

Age structure

0-14 years: 42.34% (male 5,927,640/female 5,820,226)

15-24 years: 20.04% (male 2,782,376/female 2,776,873)

25-54 years: 30.64% (male 4,191,151/female 4,309,483)

55-64 years: 3.87% (male 520,771/female 552,801)

65 years and over: 3.11% (2020 est.) (male 403,420/female 460,248)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 81.1

youth dependency ratio: 76.2

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18.5 years

male: 18.2 years

female: 18.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 209

Birth rate

35.53 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Death rate

7.73 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Net migration rate

-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 119

Population distribution

population concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 58.7% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

4.164 million YAOUNDE (capital), 3.927 million Douala (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.1 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

529 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Infant mortality rate

total: 48.73 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 53.58 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 43.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 63.27 years

male: 61.49 years

female: 65.09 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 210

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95.1% of population

rural: 56.2% of population

total: 78.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.9% of population

rural: 43.8% of population

total: 21.4% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 83.2% of population

rural: 27.7% of population

total: 59.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 16.8% of population

rural: 72.3% of population

total: 40.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Cameroon is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.36 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.16 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.56 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Tobacco use

total: 7.3% (2020 est.)

male: 13.2% (2020 est.)

female: 1.4% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 10.7%

women married by age 18: 29.8%

men married by age 18: 2.9% (2018 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 77.1%

male: 82.6%

female: 71.6% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 13 years

female: 11 years (2016)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6.3%

male: 5.8%

female: 6.8% (2014 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation and overgrazing result in erosion, desertification, and reduced quality of pastureland; poaching; overfishing; overhunting

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 65.26 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 8.29 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 30.71 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north

Land use

agricultural land: 20.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 13.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 4.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 41.7% (2018 est.)

other: 37.7% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 58.7% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Cameroon is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity and population displacements - according to a March 2022 analysis, about 2.4 million people are projected to be severely food insecure between June and August 2022; this is mainly the result of conflict, sociopolitical unrest and high food prices (2022)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 3,270,617 tons (2013 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 13,082 tons (2009 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 0.4% (2009 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Niger, Nigeria, and Chad) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
note - area varies by season and year to year

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), Niger (2,261,741 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lake Chad Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 246.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 104.6 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 737 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

283.15 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon

conventional short form: Cameroon

local long form: Republique du Cameroun (French)/Republic of Cameroon (English)

local short form: Cameroun/Cameroon

former: Kamerun, French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon

etymology: in the 15th century, Portuguese explorers named the area near the mouth of the Wouri River the Rio dos Camaroes (River of Prawns) after the abundant shrimp in the water; over time the designation became Cameroon in English; this is the only instance where a country is named after a crustacean

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Yaounde

geographic coordinates: 3 52 N, 11 31 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: founded as a German colonial settlement of Jaunde in 1888 and named after the local Yaunde (Ewondo) people

Administrative divisions

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)

Independence

1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

State Unification Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest effective 18 January 1996

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; amendment drafts require approval of at least one third of the membership in either house of Parliament; passage requires absolute majority vote of the Parliament membership; passage of drafts requested by the president for a second reading in Parliament requires two-thirds majority vote of its membership; the president can opt to submit drafts to a referendum, in which case passage requires a simple majority; constitutional articles on Cameroon’s unity and territorial integrity and its democratic principles cannot be amended; amended 2008

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Cameroon

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

20 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)

head of government: Prime Minister Joseph Dion NGUTE (since 4 January 2019); Deputy Prime Minister Amadou ALI (since 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet proposed by the prime minister, appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 7 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2025); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Paul BIYA reelected president; percent of vote - Paul BIYA (CPDM) 71.3%, Maurice KAMTO (MRC) 14.2%, Cabral LIBII (Univers) 6.3%, other 8.2% (2018)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate or Senat (100 seats; 70 members indirectly elected by regional councils and 30 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 25 March 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
National Assembly - last held on 9 February 2020 (current term extended by president); note - the Constitutional Court has ordered a partial rerun of elections in the English speaking areas; date to be determined

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CDPM 81.1%, SDF 8.6%, UNDP 5.8%, UDC 1.16%, other 2.8%; seats by party - CPDM 63, SDF 7; composition as of March 2022 - men 74, women 26, percent of women 26%
National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 139, UNDP 7, SDF 5, PCRN 5, UDC 4, FSNC 3, MDR 2, Union of Socialist Movements 2; 13 vacant; composition as of March 2022 - men 119, women 61, percent of women 33.9%; note - total Parliament percent of women 31.1%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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 magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Democracy and Development
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA]
Cameroon People's Party or CPP [Edith Kah WALLA]
Cameroon Renaissance Movement or MRC [Maurice KAMTO]
Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]
Cameroonian Party for National Reconciliation or PCRN [Cabral LIBII]
Front for the National Salvation of Cameroon or FSNC [Issa Tchiroma BAKARY]
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]
Union of Socialist Movements

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, C, CEMAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LCBC, MIGA, MNJTF, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Henri ETOUNDI ESSOMBA (since 27 June 2016)

chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790

FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826

email address and website:
cs@cameroonembassyusa.org

https://www.cameroonembassyusa.org/mainFolder/index.html

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher J. LAMORA (since 21 March 2022)

embassy: Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaoundé

mailing address: 2520 Yaounde Place, Washington, DC  20521-2520

telephone: [237] 22251-4000/[237] 22220-1500

FAX: [237] 22220-1500, Ext. 4531

email address and website:
YaoundeACS@state.gov

https://cm.usembassy.gov/

branch office(s): Douala

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: green, red, yellow

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (both natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Dja Faunal Reserve; Sangha Trinational Forest

Economy

Economic overview

Cameroon’s market-based, diversified economy features oil and gas, timber, aluminum, agriculture, mining and the service sector. Oil remains Cameroon’s main export commodity, and despite falling global oil prices, still accounts for nearly 40% of exports. Cameroon’s economy suffers from 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, 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 and diverted funds from education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects, as low oil prices have led to lower revenues.

 

Cameroon devotes significant resources to several large infrastructure projects currently under construction, including a deep seaport in Kribi and the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. Cameroon’s energy sector continues to diversify, recently opening a natural gas-powered electricity generating plant. 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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$94.94 billion (2020 est.)

$94.25 billion (2019 est.)

$90.87 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 92

Real GDP growth rate

3.5% (2017 est.)

4.6% (2016 est.)

5.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Real GDP per capita

$3,600 (2020 est.)

$3,600 (2019 est.)

$3,600 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 189

GDP (official exchange rate)

$34.99 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.4% (2019 est.)

1% (2018 est.)

0.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2006)

Moody's rating: B2 (2016)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 16.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)

services: 56.8% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 66.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 21.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -20.9% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, plantains, maize, oil palm fruit, taro, sugar cane, sorghum, tomatoes, bananas, vegetables

Industries

petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry: 13%

services: 17% (2001 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6.3%

male: 5.8%

female: 6.8% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 164

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 37.5%

highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

Budget

revenues: 5.363 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 6.556 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

36.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

32.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$932 million (2017 est.)

-$1.034 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Exports

$7.73 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$7.3 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 107

Exports - partners

China 17%, Netherlands 14%, Italy 9%, United Arab Emirates 8%, India 7%, United States 6%, Belgium 6%, Spain 5%, France 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, cocoa beans, lumber, gold, natural gas, bananas (2019)

Imports

$9.09 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$8.42 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 110

Imports - partners

China 28%, Nigeria 15%, France 9%, Belgium 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, scrap vessels, rice, special purpose ships, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.235 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Debt - external

$9.375 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$7.364 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -

605.3 (2017 est.)

593.01 (2016 est.)

593.01 (2015 est.)

591.45 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 70% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 98% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 32% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 1.754 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 6,508,840,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 19 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.864 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 32.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 67.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 63,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 37,900 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 62,200 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 20,200 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 200 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 2,678,486,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 986.189 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 1,603,156,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 135.071 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

7.105 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 5.171 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 1.935 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 964,378 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 22,350,310 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 84 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Cameroon was for many years one of the few countries in Africa with only two competing mobile operators; after some delays, Viettel Cameroon launched a third network and has since grown its subscriber base rapidly; Camtel became the fourth mobile operator in early 2020 after securing three licenses, however it suspended the launch of services in early 2021; despite this, by the end of the year a launch under the Blue brand was imminent; the investment programs among operators over the next few years will considerably boost mobile broadband services in rural areas of the country, many of which are under served by fixed-line infrastructure; the ICT sector in Cameroon is making steady progress, enabling the country to make better use of the digital economy; about 95% of all electronic transactions are carried through the m-money services operated by MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon; the government has also been supportive, having launched its ‘Cameroon Digital 2020’ program, aimed at improving connectivity nationally. A large number of small ICT projects form part of the overall program; improved submarine and terrestrial cable connectivity has substantially increased international bandwidth, in turn leading to reductions in access prices for consumers; other projects such as Acceleration of the Digital Transformation of Cameroon are aimed at developing the digital economy, and accelerating the use of ICT in areas such as government services, agriculture, and commerce. (2022)

domestic: only a little above 3 per 100 persons for fixed-line subscriptions; mobile-cellular usage has increased sharply, reaching a subscribership base of roughly 95 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 237; landing points for the SAT-3/WASC, SAIL, ACE, NCSCS, Ceiba-2, and WACS fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe, South America, and West Africa; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 10,087,428 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 38% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 722,579 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 265,136 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 70,000 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

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 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 22

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 8 (2021)

Pipelines

53 km gas, 5 km liquid petroleum gas, 1,107 km oil, 35 km water (2013)

Railways

total: 987 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 987 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

note: railway connections generally efficient but limited; rail lines connect major cities of Douala, Yaounde, Ngaoundere, and Garoua; passenger and freight service provided by CAMRAIL

country comparison to the world: 89

Roadways

total: 77,589 km (2016)

paved: 5,133 km (2016)

unpaved: 72,456 km (2016)

country comparison to the world: 64

Waterways

(2010) (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)

Merchant marine

total: 94

by type: bulk carrier 3, container ship 1,general cargo 35, oil tanker 24, other 31 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 93

Ports and terminals

oil terminal(s): Limboh Terminal

river port(s): Douala (Wouri)

Garoua (Benoue)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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), Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillons d’Intervention Rapide or BIR), National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard (2022)

note 1: the National Police and the National Gendarmerie are responsible for internal security; the Police report to the General Delegation of National Security, while the Gendarmerie reports to the Secretariat of State for Defense in charge of the Gendarmerie

note 2: the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the president; the BIR is structured as a large brigade with approximately 9 battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of infantry, airborne, amphibious, armored reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, and support elements

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2021 est.)

1% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $710 million)

1.4% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $710 million)

1.5% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $710 million)

country comparison to the world: 126

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies widely; approximately 40,000 active duty troops; (25,000 ground forces, including the BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 12,000 Gendarmerie) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAC inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older or second-hand Chinese, Russian, and Western equipment, with a limited quantity of more modern weapons; since 2010, China has been the leading supplier of armaments to the FAC (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years (2021)

Military deployments

750 (plus about 350 police) Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (May 2022)

note: Cameroon has committed approximately 2,000-2,500 troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups operating in the general area of the Lake Chad Basin and along Nigeria's northeast border; national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations occur occasionally

Military - note

as of 2022, the FAC was largely focused on the threat from the terrorist group Boko Haram along its frontiers with Nigeria and Chad (Far North region) and an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions (as of early 2022, this internal conflict has left an estimated 4,000 civilians dead and over 700,000 people displaced since fighting started in 2016); in addition, the FAC often deployed units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; in 2021, there were 34 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region; although a significant decrease from the total number of 81 incidents in 2020, it included the one hijacking and three of five ships fired upon worldwide; while boarding and attempted boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews are the most common types of incidents, almost a third of all incidents involve a hijacking and/or kidnapping; in 2021, 57 crew members were kidnapped in seven separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, representing 100% of kidnappings worldwide; Nigerian pirates in particular are well armed and very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2022-001 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 4 January 2022, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea"

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Boko Haram; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – West Africa

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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 and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 347,937 (Central African Republic), 135,472 (Nigeria) (2022)

IDPs: 975,786 (2022) (includes far north, northwest, and southwest)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Cameroon and Cameroonians abroad; deteriorating economic and education conditions and diminished police and judicial presence caused by conflict in the Northwest and Southwest has left displaced persons vulnerable to trafficking; parents may be lured by promises of education or a better life for their children in urban areas, and then the children are subject to forced labor and sex trafficking; teenagers and adolescents may be lured to cities with promises of employment and then become victims of forced labor and sex trafficking; children from neighboring countries are forced to work in spare parts shops or cattle grazing by business owners and herders; Cameroonians, often from rural areas, are exploited in forced labor and sex trafficking in the Middle East, Europe, the United States, and African countries

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Cameroon does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so; authorities investigated at least nine suspected trafficking cases, identified 77 victims, and provided some training on trafficking indicators to officials and teachers; however, officials prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers; standard operating procedures for the identification and referral of trafficking victims were not implemented, and officials were not trained on the measures; the government did not report referring trafficking victims to government institutions for vulnerable children, but NGO-funded centers provided care for an unknown number of child victims; 2012 anti-trafficking legislation addressing victim and witness protection in conformity with international law was not passed for the eighth consecutive year (2020)