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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Cameroon
Flag of Cameroon
Map of Cameroon
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 a slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy headed by President Paul BIYA.
Geography Cameroon
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
land: 469,440 sq km
water: 6,000 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: 50 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)
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
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
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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.2% (male 3,614,430/female 3,531,047)
15-64 years: 55.5% (male 4,835,453/female 4,796,276)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 260,342/female 303,154) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.9 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.04% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
33.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
13.47 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 63.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 67.38 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.16 years
male: 50.98 years
female: 51.34 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
6.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
560,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
49,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)
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: 79%
male: 84.7%
female: 73.4% (2003 est.)
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 provinces; Adamaoua, Centre, Est, Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Ouest
1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
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; 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 Ephraim INONI (since 8 December 2004)
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 23 June 2002 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RDCP 133, SDF 21, UDC 5, other 21
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]; Movement for the Youth of Cameroon or MYC [Dieudonne TINA]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari BELLO BOUBA]; Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]; Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]; Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jerome MENDOUGA
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 Niels MARQUARDT
embassy: Rue Nachtigal, Yaounde
mailing address: P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520
telephone: [237] 220 15 00; Consular: [237] 220 16 03
FAX: [237] 220 16 20; Consular FAX: [237] 220 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; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
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 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, privatization, and poverty reduction programs. International oil and cocoa prices have a significant impact on the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$42.2 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$16.37 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,400 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 45.2%
industry: 16.1%
services: 38.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
6.394 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 13%
services: 17%
Unemployment rate:
30% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
48% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 36.6% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44.6 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.4% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $3.339 billion
expenditures: $3.157 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
28.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
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:
4.2% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
3.924 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.7%
hydro: 97.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
3.649 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
82,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
24,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
90 million bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
110.4 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$419 million (2006 est.)
$4.318 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners:
Spain 17.4%, Italy 13.8%, France 9.5%, South Korea 8.1%, UK 8.1%, Netherlands 7.9%, Belgium 4.9%, US 4.3% (2005)
$3.083 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
Imports - partners:
France 24%, Nigeria 12%, Belgium 6.3%, China 5.6%, US 5.1%, Thailand 4.5%, Germany 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.336 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.657 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
in January 2001, the Paris Club agreed to reduce Cameroon's debt of $1.3 billion by $900 million; debt relief now totals $1.26 billion
Currency (code):
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 522.592 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Cameroon
Telephones - main lines in use:
99,400 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.259 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: available only to business and government
domestic: cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter
international: country code - 237; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2002)
2.27 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2002)
450,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
39 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
167,000 (2005)
Transportation Cameroon
47 (2006)
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 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 36
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 9 (2006)
gas 70 km; liquid petroleum gas 9 km; oil 1,107 km (2006)
total: 987 km
narrow gauge: 987 km 1.000-m gauge (2005)
total: 50,000 km
paved: 5,000 km
unpaved: 45,000 km (2004)
navigation mainly on Benue River; limited during rainy season (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 38,613 GRT/68,820 DWT
by type: petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (France 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Douala, Limboh Terminal
Military Cameroon
Military branches:
Cameroon Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (1999)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 3,525,307
females age 18-49: 3,461,406 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,946,767
females age 18-49: 1,834,600 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 191,619
females age 18-49: 187,082 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$230.2 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.5% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Cameroon
Disputes - international:
ICJ ruled in 2002 on the entire Cameroon-Nigeria land and maritime boundary but the parties formed a Joint Border Commission, which continues to meet regularly to resolve differences bilaterally and have commenced with demarcation in less-contested sections of the boundary, starting in Lake Chad in the north; implementation of the ICJ ruling on the Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea is impeded by imprecisely defined coordinates and a sovereignty dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River; Nigeria initially rejected cession of the Bakassi Peninsula, then agreed, but much of the indigenous population opposes cession; 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): 39,290 (Chad) 16,686 (Nigeria) 9,634 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2005)

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007