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Cameroon, See : Flags, Maps

Cameroon (Africa)

Introduction ::Cameroon


The former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon merged in 1961 to form the present country. Cameroon has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.

Geography ::Cameroon

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

Geographic coordinates:
6 00 N, 12 00 E

Map references:



total: 475,440 sq km country comparison to the world: 53 land: 472,710 sq km

water: 2,730 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than California

Land boundaries:

total: 4,591 km

border countries: Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km


402 km

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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)

Natural resources:

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 12.54%

permanent crops: 2.52%

other: 84.94% (2005)

Irrigated land:

260 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

285.5 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.99 cu km/yr (18%/8%/74%)

per capita: 61 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

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

volcanism: Mt. Cameroon (elev. 4,095 m, 13,435 ft), 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 - current issues:

waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano

People ::Cameroon


19,294,149 country comparison to the world: 58 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 40.9% (male 3,891,762/female 3,822,870)

15-64 years: 55.9% (male 5,298,143/female 5,250,493)

65 years and over: 3.3% (male 283,289/female 332,744) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 19.3 years

male: 19.2 years

female: 19.4 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.157% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 42

Birth rate:

33.58 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 38

Death rate:

12.01 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 30

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 79


urban population: 57% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 62.15 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 32 male: 66.8 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 57.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 54.04 years country comparison to the world: 202 male: 53.21 years

female: 54.9 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.25 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

5.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 15

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

540,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 19

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

39,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 14

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

animal contact disease: rabies (2009)


noun: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups:

Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%


indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%


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


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.9%

male: 77%

female: 59.8% (2001 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 9 years (2008)

Education expenditures:

2.9% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 150

Government ::Cameroon

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

Government type:

republic; multiparty presidential regime


name: Yaounde

geographic coordinates: 3 52 N, 11 31 E

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

Administrative divisions:

10 regions (regions, singular - region); Adamaoua, Centre, Est, Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, North-West (Nord-Ouest), Ouest, Sud, South-West (Sud-Ouest)


1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)


approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996

Legal system:

based on French civil law system with common law influence; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

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

head of government: Prime Minister Philemon YANG (since 30 June 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 October 2004 (next to be held by October 2011); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 70.9%, John FRU NDI 17.4%, Adamou Ndam NJOYA 4.5%, Garga Haman ADJI 3.7%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - the president can either lengthen or shorten the term of the legislature

elections: last held on 22 July 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 140, SDF 14, UDC 4, UNDP 4, MP 1, vacant 17

note: the constitution calls for an upper chamber for the legislature, to be called a Senate, but it has yet to be established

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); High Court of Justice (consists of nine judges and six substitute judges; elected by the National Assembly)

Political parties and leaders:

Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA];
Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]; Movement
for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole DAISSALA]; Movement
for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or MLDC [Marcel
YONDO]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari
BELLO BOUBA]; Progressive Movement or MP; Social Democratic Front or
SDF [John FRU NDI]; Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Augustin
Frederic KODOCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]; Southern
Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA

chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790
FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Janet E. GARVEY

embassy: Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaounde

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

telephone: [237] 2220 15 00; Consular: [237] 2220 16 03

FAX: [237] 2220 16 00 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 2220 17 52

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 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 although officially adopted in 1957; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ

Economy ::Cameroon

Economy - overview:

Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnate per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, 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 is pressing for more reforms, including increased budget transparency, privatization, and poverty reduction programs. Weak prices for oil and cocoa led to the significant slowdown in growth in 2009. The government is under pressure to reduce its budget deficit, which by the government's own forecast will hit 2.8% of GDP, but the presidential election in 2011 may make fiscal austerity difficult.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$44.65 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 93 $43.44 billion (2009 est.)

$43.05 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$21.88 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 129 0.9% (2009 est.)

3.9% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,300 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 183 $2,300 (2009 est.)

$2,300 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 20%

industry: 30.9%

services: 49.1% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

7.836 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 59

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry: 13%

services: 17% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 177

Population below poverty line:

48% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

44.6 (2001) country comparison to the world: 43 47.7 (1996)

Investment (gross fixed):

21.1% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 72

Public debt:

16.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 113 16.3% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.9% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 55 3% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 104 4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

NA% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$2.888 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 111 $3.074 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$4.831 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 120 $4.921 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$848.8 million (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 152 $1.523 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber


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

Industrial production growth rate:

4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 88

Electricity - production:

5.601 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 108

Electricity - consumption:

4.801 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 109

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

77,310 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 55

Oil - consumption:

26,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

Oil - exports:

107,100 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 65

Oil - imports:

45,520 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 89

Oil - proved reserves:

200 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 57

Natural gas - production:

20 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 88

Natural gas - consumption:

20 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 111

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 194

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 195

Natural gas - proved reserves:

135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 49

Current account balance:

-$826 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 130 -$1.137 billion (2009 est.)


$4.371 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 114 $4.079 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners:

Netherlands 13.99%, Spain 12.25%, Italy 11.84%, China 9.14%, US 6.16%, France 5.51%, South Korea 4.66%, Belgium 4.33%, UK 4% (2009)


$4.869 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 117 $4.405 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food

Imports - partners:

France 21.03%, Nigeria 10.79%, China 10.25%, Belgium 6.62%, US 4.31% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$4.023 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 $3.676 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$3.344 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 123 $3.231 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs 506.04 (2010), 472.19 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006)

Communications ::Cameroon

Telephones - main lines in use:

323,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 110

Telephones - mobile cellular:

7.397 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 80

Telephone system:

general assessment: system includes cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter; Camtel, the monopoly provider of fixed-line service, provides connections for only about 1 per 100 persons; equipment is old and outdated, and connections with many parts of the country are unreliable

domestic: mobile-cellular usage, in part a reflection of the poor condition and general inadequacy of the fixed-line network, has increased sharply, reaching a subscribership base of 40 per 100 persons

international: country code - 237; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

government maintains tight control over broadcast media; state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), broadcasting on both a television and radio network, was the only officially recognized and fully licensed broadcaster until August 2007 when the government finally issued licenses to 2 private TV broadcasters and 1 private radio broadcaster; about 70 privately-owned unlicensed radio stations operating but are subject to closure at any time; foreign news services required to partner with state-owned national station (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

90 (2010) country comparison to the world: 204

Internet users:

749,600 (2009) country comparison to the world: 106

Transportation ::Cameroon


34 (2010) country comparison to the world: 111

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 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 23

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 14

under 914 m: 6 (2010)


oil 889 km (2009)


total: 987 km country comparison to the world: 90 narrow gauge: 987 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)


total: 50,000 km country comparison to the world: 81 paved: 5,000 km

unpaved: 45,000 km (2004)


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)

Ports and terminals:

Douala, Garoua, Limboh Terminal

Military ::Cameroon

Military branches:

Cameroon Armed Forces (Forces Armees Camerounaises, FAC): Army (L'Armee de Terre), Navy (includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Fire Fighter Corps, Gendarmerie (2010)

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; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 4,553,576

females age 16-49: 4,443,217 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,721,307

females age 16-49: 2,647,640 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 213,538

female: 209,549 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.3% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 113

Transnational Issues ::Cameroon

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 agree 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): 20,000-30,000 (Chad); 3,000 (Nigeria); 24,000 (Central African Republic) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; most victims are children trafficked within country, with girls primarily trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation; both boys and girls are also trafficked within Cameroon for forced labor in sweatshops, bars, restaurants, and on tea and cocoa plantations; children are trafficked into Cameroon from neighboring states for forced labor in agriculture, fishing, street vending, and spare-parts shops; Cameroon is a transit country for children trafficked between Gabon and Nigeria, and from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia; it is a source country for women transported by sex-trafficking rings to Europe

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Cameroon is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in 2007, particularly in terms of efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; while Cameroon reported some arrests of traffickers, none of them were prosecuted or punished; the government does not identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations nor does it monitor the number of victims it intercepts (2008)


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