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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.99 cu km/yr (18%/8%/74%)
per capita: 61 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
285.5 cu km (2003)

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

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

varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
6 00 N, 12 00 E

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)

diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north

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

total: 475,440 sq km
land: 469,440 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km

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

402 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than California

Irrigated land:
260 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm

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

Land use:
arable land: 12.54%
permanent crops: 2.52%
other: 84.94% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
4.41 children born/woman (2008 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 (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
6.9% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
560,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.3 years
male: 52.54 years
female: 54.08 years (2008 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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 67.9%
male: 77%
female: 59.8% (2001 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

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%

Median age:
total: 19 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 19.2 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
2.218% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
12.41 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 64.57 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 69.39 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
49,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.1% (male 3,826,232/female 3,757,859)
15-64 years: 55.7% (male 5,164,338/female 5,122,817)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 274,821/female 321,625) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
34.59 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

noun: Cameroonian(s)
adjective: Cameroonian

  Government Back To Top

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

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

20 years of age; universal

Government type:
republic; multiparty presidential regime

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]; Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]

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

International organization participation:

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

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

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

1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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]

name: Yaounde
geographic coordinates: 3 52 N, 11 31 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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

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%

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

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)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Spain 19.8%, Italy 15.7%, France 11.7%, South Korea 9.4%, Netherlands 6.1%, US 5.7% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
3.323 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$377 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$2.36 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
30% (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:
108,800 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
17.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.3 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$44.03 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$25 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44.6 (2001)

Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar 438.77 (2008 est.), 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.616 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
6.716 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
France 23.4%, Nigeria 12.8%, China 9%, Belgium 5.8%, US 4% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.4% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 43.5%
industry: 16%
services: 40.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
50,750 bbl/day (2005)

$5.246 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
20 million cu m (2006 est.)

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

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. 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$1.698 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
3.903 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$4.362 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
200 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 13%
services: 17% (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.788 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
24,500 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
11.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$413.8 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.7%
hydro: 97.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
20 million cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $5.371 billion
expenditures: $4.319 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June

Oil - production:
87,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
370,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
130,700 (2006)

450,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2001)

2.27 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.536 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)

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, increased more than 6-fold between 2002 and 2007 reaching a subscribership base of 25 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) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)

Internet hosts:
69 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

navigation mainly on Benue River; limited during rainy season (2008)

gas 27 km; liquid petroleum gas 5 km; oil 1,110 km (2007)

total: 987 km
narrow gauge: 987 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Douala, Limboh Terminal

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 (2007)

total: 50,000 km
paved: 5,000 km
unpaved: 45,000 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 8 (2007)

45 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2006)

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: 2,567,428
females age 16-49: 2,498,990 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Cameroon Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 212,205
female: 207,545 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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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