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Cameroon Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Yaoundé

Other cities: Douala, the largest city in Cameroon

Border countries: Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria

Internet Links

Official Sites of Cameroon

Presidence de la Republique du Cameroun

Prime Minister's Office

Ministère des Relations Extérieures

Cameroon Embassy

Météorologie Nationale du Cameroun

Map of Cameroon



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 movement
toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands
of an ethnic oligarchy.

Geography Cameroon

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 water: 6,000 sq km land: 469,440 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: 50 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 (on Cameroon Mountain) 4,095 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use:  arable land: 13% permanent crops: 3% other: 84% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  330 sq km (1998 est.)

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

Environment - current issues:  water-borne diseases are prevalent;
deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of
the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

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

Population:  16,184,748 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 and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population
by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 42.1% (male 3,443,505; female 3,367,571)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 4,431,524; female 4,392,155) 65 years and over:
3.4% (male 253,242; female 296,751) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.36% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  35.66 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  12.08 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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 (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  68.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   55.23 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  7.73% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  540,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  52,000 (1999 est.)

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

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 63.4% male: 75% female: 52.1% (1995 est.)

Government Cameroon

Country name:   Republic of Cameroon conventional short form: Government
type:  unitary republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition
parties legalized in 1990) note: preponderance of power remains with
the president

Capital:  Yaounde

Administrative divisions:  10 provinces; Adamaoua, Centre, Est,
Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Ouest

Independence:  1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

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

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

Legal system:  based on French civil law system, with common law
influence; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:   President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982) elections:
held 12 October 1997 (next to be held NA October 2004); prime minister
appointed by the president head of government: Prime Minister Peter
Mafany MUSONGE (since 19 September 1996) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by
the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister election
results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 92.6%;
note - supporters of the opposition candidates boycotted the elections,
making a comparison of vote shares relatively meaningless

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 17 May 1997 (next to be held NA
2002) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party
- RDCP 109, SDF 43, UNDP 13, UDC 5, UPC-K 1, MDR 1, MLDC 1; note -
results from seven contested seats were canceled by the Supreme Court,
further elections on 3 August 1997 gave these seats to the RDCP 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 6 substitute judges,
elected by the National Assembly)

Political parties and leaders:  Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC
[Adamou NDAM NJOYA]; Democratic Rally of the Cameroon People or RDCP
[Paul BIYA]; Movement for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole
DAISSALA]; Movement for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or
MLDC [leader Marcel YONDO]; Movement for the Youth of Cameroon or MYC
[Dieudonne TINA]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP
[Maigari BELLO BOUBA, chairman]; Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU
NDI]; Union of Cameroonian Populations or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Southern Cameroon National Council
[Frederick Ebong ALOBWEDE]; Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG,

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, C,
IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN,
UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIK,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Jerome
MENDOUGA chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 FAX:
[1] (202) 387-3826 telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
George McDade STAPLES embassy: Rue Nachtigal, Yaounde mailing address:
P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, Department of State,
Washington, DC 20521-2520 telephone: [237] 23-40-14, 22-17-94 FAX:
[237] 23-07-53 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;
uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Economy Cameroon

Economy - overview:  Because of its 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 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. In June 2000, the government completed
an IMF-sponsored, three-year structural adjustment program; however, the
IMF is pressing for more reforms, including increased budget transparency
and privatization. International oil and cocoa prices have considerable
impact on the economy.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $26.4 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  4.9% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 44% industry: 20% services:
36% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  48% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  NA

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 70%, industry and commerce 13%,
other 17%

Unemployment rate:  30% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $2.2 billion expenditures: $2.1 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 est.)

Industries:  petroleum production and refining, food processing, light
consumer goods, textiles, lumber

Industrial production growth rate:  4.2% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production:  3.623 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 2.57% hydro: 97.43%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  3.369 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed,
grains, root starches; livestock; timber

Exports:  $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:  crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa
beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners:  Italy 24%, France 18%, Netherlands 10% (2000 est.)

Imports:  $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery, electrical equipment, transport
equipment, fuel, food

Imports - partners:  France 29%, Germany 7%, US 6%, Japan 6% (2000 est.)

Debt - external:  $10.9 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  on 23 January 2001, the Paris Club agreed
to reduce Cameroon's debt of $1.3 billion by $900 million; total debt
relief now amounts to $1.26 billion

Currency:  Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible
authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Currency code:  XAF

Exchange rates:  Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US
dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70
(1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the
XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Cameroon

Telephones - main lines in use:  95,000 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  300,000 (2002)

Telephone system:   available only to business and government domestic:
satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 11, FM 8, shortwave 3 (1998)

Radios:  2.27 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (1998)

Televisions:  450,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .cm

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  29 (2002)

Internet users:  20,000 (2000) note: in 2000, Cameroon also had 112

Transportation Cameroon

Railways:  total: 1,104 km narrow gauge: 1,104 km 1.000-m gauge
(1995 est.)

Highways:  total: 34,300 km paved: 4,288 km unpaved: 30,012 km (1995)

Waterways:  2,090 km (of decreasing importance)

Ports and harbors:  Bonaberi, Douala, Garoua, Kribi, Tiko

Airports:  49 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 11 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047
m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 38 1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 914 to
1,523 m: 21 under 914 m: 10 (2001)

Military Cameroon

Military branches:  Army, Navy (includes naval infantry), Air Force,
National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 3,872,965 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,959,357
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 174,308
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $118.6 million (FY00/01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.4% (FY98/99)

Transnational Issues Cameroon

Disputes - international:  oral arguments on the land and maritime
boundary disputes between Cameroon and Nigeria were presented to the ICJ;
disputes center around Bakasi Peninsula, where armed clashes continue,
Bouram Island on Lake Chad, and the maritime boundary and economic zone
dispute in the Gulf of Guinea, which also involves Equatorial Guinea;
Lake Chad Basin Commission urges signatories Cameroon, Chad, Niger,
and Nigeria to ratify delimitation treaty over lake region, the site of
continuing armed clashes

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002



Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV)

GCNet Infos

Le Messager


Arts & Culture
Cameroon : Masks and Statues

Human Settlements in Cameroon

Business & Economy
Cameroon Airlines

Country Guides
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Cameroon in Brief

Travel Cameroon

ASOY American School of Yaoundé

Ecole Nationale Superieur Polytechnique ENSP

UY1 Université de Yaoundé I

Brief history and political organization

Issues Cameroon

Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC)

Cameroon-Info.Net Links


Southern Cameroon
Southern Cameroons Provisional Administration

Fédération Camerounaise de Football




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