Photos of Cameroon

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.



Powerful chiefdoms ruled much of the area of present-day Cameroon before it became a German colony known as Kamerun in 1884. 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. Nonetheless, unrest and violence in the country's two western, English-speaking regions have persisted since 2016. Movement toward democratic reform is slow, and political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.

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

Geographic coordinates

6 00 N, 12 00 E


total: 475,440 sq km

land: 472,710 sq km

water: 2,730 sq km

comparison ranking: total 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


402 km

Maritime claims

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


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

People and Society


total: 30,966,105

male: 15,429,588

female: 15,536,517 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 51; male 50; total 51


noun: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups

Bamileke-Bamu 22.2%, Biu-Mandara 16.4%, Arab-Choa/Hausa/Kanuri 13.5%, Beti/Bassa, Mbam 13.1%, Grassfields 9.9%, Adamawa-Ubangi, 9.8%, Cotier/Ngoe/Oroko 4.6%, Southwestern Bantu 4.3%, Kako/Meka 2.3%, foreign/other ethnic group 3.8% (2022 est.)


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:


Roman Catholic 33.1%, Muslim 30.6%, Protestant 27.1% other Christian 6.1%, animist 1.3%, other 0.7%, none 1.2% (2022 est.)

Demographic profile

Cameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25 as of 2020. 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 480,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of December 2022. 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 Northwest and Southwest since 2016 have displaced hundreds of thousands of the country's Anglophone minority.

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.5% (male 6,477,438/female 6,364,987)

15-64 years: 55.3% (male 8,488,522/female 8,638,519)

65 years and over: 3.2% (2024 est.) (male 463,628/female 533,011)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 82.3

youth dependency ratio: 77.3

elderly dependency ratio: 4.9

potential support ratio: 20.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 18.6 years

female: 19.2 years

comparison ranking: total 216

Population growth rate

2.71% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Birth rate

34.7 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Death rate

7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Net migration rate

-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 114

Population distribution

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


urban population: 59.3% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

4.509 million YAOUNDE (capital), 4.063 million Douala (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.1 years (2018 est.)

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

Maternal mortality ratio

438 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 21

Infant mortality rate

total: 46.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 50.8 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.3 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 23

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 64.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 62.3 years

female: 66.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 209

Total fertility rate

4.44 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 16

Gross reproduction rate

2.19 (2024 est.)

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.)

Current health expenditure

3.8% of GDP (2020)

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 (2023)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 31 August 2023, 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

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

11.4% (2016)

comparison ranking: 135

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.)

comparison ranking: total 94

Tobacco use

total: 7.3% (2020 est.)

male: 13.2% (2020 est.)

female: 1.4% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 155

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11% (2018/19)

comparison ranking: 53

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.)

Education expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 152


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)


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


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.)


urban population: 59.3% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity, high food prices, and floods - according to a November 2022 analysis (the latest available), about 3.6 million people were estimated to be acutely food insecure between October and December 2022, as a result of conflict, sociopolitical unrest and high food prices, as well as floods that caused people displacements, damaged standing crops and prevented access to fields (2023)

Revenue from forest resources

2.5% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 27

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 183

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 56.37 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 8.29 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 30.71 megatons (2020 est.)

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: 250 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 100 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 740 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

283.15 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


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


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)


1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

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


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 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


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: Prime Minister Joseph NGUTE (since 4 January 2019)

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: 2018: 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 49 single and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 12 March 2023 (next to be held in 2028)
National Assembly - last held on 9 February 2020 (next to be held 28 February 2025)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CDPM 100%; seats by party - CDPM 100; composition - men 69, women 31, percentage women 31%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 152, UNDP 7, SDF 5, PCRN 5, UDC 4, FSNC 3, MDR 2, UMS 2; composition - men 119, women 61, percentage women 33.9%; total Parliament percentage women 51.1%

note: 13 National Assembly seats were vacant after the 9 February 2020 election due to violence in northwest and southwest regions; CDPM won those seats in a 22 March 2020 election

Judicial branch

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 renewable 6-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 [Garga Haman ADJI]
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 [Hermine Patricia TOMAINO]
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 [Paulin DJOWRWE]
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 [Joshua OSIH]
Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Pierre Baleguel NKOT] 
Union of Socialist Movements [Pierre KWEMO] 

International organization participation


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:

Cameroon Embassy in Washington DC, USA (

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:

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


Economic overview

largest CEMAC economy with many natural resources; recent political instability and terrorism reducing economic output; systemic corruption; poor property rights enforcement; increasing poverty in northern regions

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$103.941 billion (2022 est.)
$100.346 billion (2021 est.)
$97.103 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 93

Real GDP growth rate

3.58% (2022 est.)
3.34% (2021 est.)
0.26% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 121

Real GDP per capita

$3,700 (2022 est.)
$3,700 (2021 est.)
$3,700 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 183

GDP (official exchange rate)

$43.644 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.25% (2022 est.)
2.27% (2021 est.)
2.44% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 98

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2006)

Moody's rating: B2 (2016)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 16.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)

services: 56.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 145; industry 103; agriculture 58

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, oil palm fruit, maize, taro, tomatoes, sorghum, sugarcane, bananas, vegetables (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


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

Industrial production growth rate

2.74% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 122

Labor force

11.592 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 49

Unemployment rate

3.78% (2022 est.)
4.15% (2021 est.)
3.99% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 70

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 6.6% (2021 est.)

male: 6%

female: 7.3%

comparison ranking: total 180

Population below poverty line

37.5% (2014 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

46.6 (2014 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 18

Average household expenditures

on food: 45.2% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 35% (2014 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


0.84% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.96% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.82% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $6.118 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $7.405 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 141

Public debt

36.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
32.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 145

Taxes and other revenues

11.35% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 179

Current account balance

-$1.505 billion (2022 est.)
-$1.794 billion (2021 est.)
-$1.512 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 139


$8.641 billion (2022 est.)
$7.447 billion (2021 est.)
$6.124 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 120

Exports - partners

Netherlands 19%, France 15%, India 14%, Spain 10%, China 8% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, wood, cocoa beans, gold (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$9.759 billion (2022 est.)
$9.025 billion (2021 est.)
$7.212 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 124

Imports - partners

China 39%, France 8%, India 6%, Belgium 4%, UAE 4% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, wheat, garments, rice, plastic products (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.459 billion (2018 est.)
$3.197 billion (2017 est.)
$2.226 billion (2016 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 109

Debt - external

$9.375 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.364 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 113

Exchange rates

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

Exchange rates:
623.76 (2022 est.)
554.531 (2021 est.)
575.586 (2020 est.)
585.911 (2019 est.)
555.446 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 10 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 65.4% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 94.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 24.8% (2021)


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.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 124; transmission/distribution losses 124; imports 117; exports 188; consumption 114

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.)


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.)


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 bbl/day (2018 est.)

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

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

Refined petroleum products - production

39,080 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 82

Refined petroleum products - exports

8,545 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 84

Refined petroleum products - imports

14,090 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

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.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 125

Energy consumption per capita

6.187 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 167


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 929,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 72

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 23.107 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 83 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 56

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Cameroon was for many years one of the few countries in Africa with only two competing mobile operators; the investment programs among operators over the next few years aims to considerably boost mobile broadband services in rural areas of the country, many of which are under served by fixed-line infrastructure; the government has also been supportive, having launched its ‘Cameroon Digital 2020’ program, aimed at improving connectivity nationally; 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 (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 83 per 100 persons (2021)

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)

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 issued licenses to 2 private TV broadcasters and 1 private radio broadcaster; about 70 privately owned, unlicensed radio stations operate under “administrative tolerance,” meaning the stations could be subject to closure at any time (2019)

Internet users

total: 12.42 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 46% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 54

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 722,579 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 79


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


37 (2024)

comparison ranking: 108


1 (2024)


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


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

comparison ranking: total 89


total: 77,589 km

paved: 5,133 km

unpaved: 72,456 km (2019)

comparison ranking: total 66


(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: 198 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 91, oil tanker 42, other 63

comparison ranking: total 67


total ports: 7 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 1

small: 0

very small: 5

size unknown: 1

ports with oil terminals: 5

key ports: Douala, Ebome Marine Terminal, Kole Oil Terminal, Kome Kribi 1 Marine Terminal, Kribi Deep Sea Port, Limboh Terminal, Moudi Marine Terminal

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 or fusiliers marin), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillons d’Intervention Rapide or BIR), National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard (2024)

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), while part of the Ministry of Defense, maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the Presidency; the BIR is structured as a large brigade with up to 9 battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of infantry, airborne/airmobile, amphibious, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support elements, such as artillery and intelligence

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2023 est.)
1% of GDP (2022 est.)
1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 124

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 45-50,000 active-duty troops (30-35,000 ground forces, including the Rapid Intervention Battalion/BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 10,000 Gendarmerie) (2023)

note: the BIR has approximately 10,000 personnel

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 received in recent years from such countries as China, France, and Russia (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years (2023)

Military deployments

750 (plus about 350 police) Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (2024)

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

the FAC is considered a politically independent military; the Army and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) are organized and equipped for mobile operations; the Army has several motorized infantry brigades spread amongst five military regions; the US-trained BIR has up to nine battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of airborne, air mobile, amphibious, light, and motorized infantry, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support units, such as artillery and intelligence; the BIR reportedly receives better training, equipment, and pay than regular Army units

the ground forces are largely focused on internal security, particularly the threat from the terrorist groups Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa along its frontiers with Nigeria and Chad (Far North region) and, since 2016, an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions; in addition, the FAC often deploys ground units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits; the Navy’s missions include protecting Cameroon’s oil installations, combatting crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and patrolling the country’s lakes and rivers; the Air Force supports both the ground and naval forces and has small numbers of light ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft, as well as attack, multipurpose, and transport helicopters (2023)


Terrorist group(s)

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 354,725 (Central African Republic), 121,172 (Nigeria) (2024)

IDPs: 1.066 million (2023) (includes far north, northwest, and southwest)