CAMEROON

MARCH 25, 2009 BY RANG WHAM
   Introduction    Cameroon Top of Page
Background:
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 a slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.
   Geography    Cameroon Top of Page
Location:
Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
Geographic coordinates:
6 00 N, 12 00 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 475,440 sq km
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
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 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
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 Top of Page
Population:
18,879,301
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 2009 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) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.2 years
male: 19 years
female: 19.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.19% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
34.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
12.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate:
NA (2009 est.)
Urbanization:
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 (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 63.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 68.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 58.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.69 years
male: 52.89 years
female: 54.52 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.33 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
5.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
540,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
39,000 (2007 est.)
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)
Nationality:
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%
Religions:
indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
Languages:
24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Literacy:
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: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Cameroon Top of Page
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
Capital:
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)
Independence:
1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
Constitution:
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
Suffrage:
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
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 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 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:
Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]; Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA]; 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:
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, C, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 note: uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
   Economy    Cameroon Top of Page
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 stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. International oil and cocoa prices have a significant impact on the economy. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$42.55 billion (2009 est.)
$43.2 billion (2008 est.)
$41.82 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$21.82 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-1.5% (2009 est.)
3.3% (2008 est.)
3.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,300 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)
$2,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 19.8%
industry: 29.7%
services: 50.4% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
7.313 million (2009 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 13%
services: 17% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
30% (2001 est.)
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) 47.7 (1996)
Investment (gross fixed):
18.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $3.838 billion
expenditures: $3.781 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
14.3% of GDP (2009 est.) 13.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2009 est.) 5.3% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4.75% (31 December 2008) 5.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
NA% (31 December 2008) 15% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$NA (31 December 2008) $2.616 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$NA (31 December 2008) $1.698 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$NA (31 December 2008) $1.3 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber
Industries:
petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:
-3.5% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.601 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
4.801 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
81,720 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption:
26,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
107,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
45,520 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
200 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
20 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
20 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance:
$-673 million (2009 est.) $-96 million (2008 est.)
Exports:
$3.409 billion (2009 est.) $4.707 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners:
Spain 19.8%, Italy 13.5%, US 10.6%, France 8.2%, Netherlands 8.1%, China 7.9%, Belgium 4% (2008)
Imports:
$3.739 billion (2009 est.) $4.303 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
Imports - partners:
France 21.1%, Nigeria 13.8%, China 9.5%, Belgium 6.1% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.922 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $3.091 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.929 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $3.066 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar - 481.35 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005)
note: since 1 January 1999, the Central African CFA franc (XAF) has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro; Central African CFA franc (XAF) coins and banknotes are not accepted in countries using West African CFA francs (XOF), and vice versa, even though the two currencies trade at par
   Communications    Cameroon Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
198,300 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.161 million (2008)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; equipment is old and outdated, and connections with many parts of the country are unreliable; 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 33 per 100 persons
domestic: cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter
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) (2008)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
Internet country code:
.cm
Internet hosts:
70 (2009)
Internet users:
725,000 (2008)
   Transportation    Cameroon Top of Page
Airports:
36 (2009)
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 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 6 (2009)
Pipelines:
oil 889 km (2008)
Railways:
total: 987 km
narrow gauge: 987 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
Roadways:
total: 50,000 km
paved: 5,000 km
unpaved: 45,000 km (2004)
Waterways:
navigation mainly on Benue River; limited during rainy season (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Douala, Limboh Terminal
   Military    Cameroon Top of Page
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) (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2009)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 4,321,175
females age 16-49: 4,228,625 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,645,601
females age 16-49: 2,574,948 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 213,027
female: 208,642 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.3% of GDP (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Cameroon Top of Page
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)

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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