Photos of Cameroon

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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

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

Land boundaries

total: 5,018 km

border countries (6): Central African Republic 901 km, Chad 1116 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)

Total renewable water resources

283.15 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

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

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

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

People and Society

Population

28,524,175 (July 2021 est.)

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

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)

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% (male 403,420/female 460,248) (2020 est.)

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

35.91 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Death rate

7.93 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Net migration rate

-0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

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: 58.1% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

4.164 million YAOUNDE (capital), 3.793 million Douala (2021)

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: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.7 years (2011 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 18

Infant mortality rate

total: 50.09 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.01 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 62.79 years

male: 61.07 years

female: 64.57 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 210

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 94% of population

rural: 54.6% of population

total: 76.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 6% of population

rural: 45.3% of population

total: 23.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 83.3% of population

rural: 25.6% of population

total: 57.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 16.7% of population

rural: 74.4% of population

total: 42.3% of population (2017 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

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.)

country comparison to the world: 159

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.)

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.)

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.)

Revenue from coal

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

country comparison to the world: 75

Urbanization

urban population: 58.1% of total population (2021)

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

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity and population displacements - about 2.7 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in the October‑December 2020 period, well above the previous year’s level; this is mainly the result of conflict, socio‑political unrest, flooding, and COVID‑19-related economic shocks; in the Far North Region, incursions by Boko Haram increased by 55% in 2020 compared to the previous year and triggered new population displacements (2021)

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.)

Government

Country name

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: 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%

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
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 - NA

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), MIGA, 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, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790

FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Peter Henry BARLERIN (since 20 December 2017)

telephone: [237] 22220 1500; Consular: [237] 22220 1603

embassy: Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaoundé

mailing address: P.O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520

FAX: [237] 22220 1500 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 22220 1752

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

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 growth rate

3.5% (2017 est.)

4.6% (2016 est.)

5.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.4% (2019 est.)

1% (2018 est.)

0.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2006)

Moody's rating: B2 (2016)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$94.248 billion (2019 est.)

$90.868 billion (2018 est.)

$87.32 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 96

GDP (official exchange rate)

$34.99 billion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$3,642 (2019 est.)

$3,604 (2018 est.)

$3,555 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 188

Gross national saving

17.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

18.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

23.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 46.1 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.3 (2020)

Trading score: 16 (2020)

Enforcement score: 39.9 (2020)

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.)

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

$4.732 billion (2017 est.)

$4.561 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

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

$4.812 billion (2017 est.)

$4.827 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

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)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 966,035

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3.58 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 22,062,303

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81.76 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: 3G service and LTE service both developing given growing competition, along with a fast-developing mobile broadband sector; govt. supportive of launching programs who's aim is to improve connections nationally; about 95% of electronic transactions carried out through M-commerce services (2020)

domestic: only about 4 per 100 persons for fixed-line subscriptions; mobile-cellular usage has increased sharply, reaching a subscribership base of over 82 per 100 persons (2019)

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 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

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: 6,089,200

percent of population: 23.2% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 17,987

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

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 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 11 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 22 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)

under 914 m: 8 (2013)

Pipelines

53 km gas, 5 km liquid petroleum gas, 1107 km oil, 35 km water (2013)

Railways

total: 987 km (2014)

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

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: 65

Waterways

(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)

Merchant marine

total: 61

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 34, oil tanker 2, other 24 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 110

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, BIR), Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard (2020)

note - the Rapid Intervention Battalion, a brigade-sized force comprised of several high-readiness land units, maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to President BIYA, rather than the Defense Minister

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2019)

1.1% of GDP (2018)

1.3% of GDP (2017)

1.3% of GDP (2016)

1.3% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 119

Military and security service personnel strengths

size assessments for the Cameroon Armed Forces (FAC) vary widely; approximately 45,000 active duty troops; (30,000 ground forces, including the BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 12,000 Gendarmerie) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAC inventory includes a mix of mostly older or second-hand Chinese, Russian, and Western equipment, with a limited quantity of more modern weapons; since 2010, China is the leading supplier of armaments to the FAC (2020)

Military deployments

750 Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (Jan 2021)

note: Cameroon has committed approximately 2,000-2,500 troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram; national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations occur occasionally

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; periodic government calls for volunteers (2019)

Maritime threats

tthe 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 2020, there were 98 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region; although a 24% decrease from the total number of incidents in 2019, it included all three hijackings and 9 of 11 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 2020, a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, representing 95% of kidnappings worldwide; approximately 51% of all incidents of piracy and armed robbery are taking place off Nigeria, which is a decrease from the 71% in 2019 and an indication pirates are traveling further to target vessels; Nigerian pirates 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 (2021-002 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 9 January 2021, 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.”

Military - note

the FAC is largely focused on the threat from the terror 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 Feb 2020, this internal conflict has left an estimated 3,000 civilians dead and over 500,000 people displaced since fighting started in 2016); in addition, the FAC has occasionally deployed units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits (2020)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Boko Haram; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – West Africa (2020)

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): 320,970 (Central African Republic), 115,695 (Nigeria) (2021)

IDPs: 1,032,942 (2021) (includes far north, northwest, and southwest)