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

Geographic Coordinates:

 6 00 N, 12 00 E


 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


 402 km (Rank: 117)

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:

 290 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 285.5 cu km (2003)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 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), 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

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 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%


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


 Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%


 19,711,291 (July 2011 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

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 40.5% (male 4,027,381/female 3,956,219)
15-64 years: 56.2% (male 5,564,570/female 5,505,857)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 300,929/female 356,335) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 19.4 years
Male: 19.3 years
Female: 19.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.121% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 33.04 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 11.83 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 58% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 Douala 2.053 million; YAOUNDE (capital) 1.739 million (2009)

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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 600 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 60.91 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 65.48 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 56.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 54.39 years
Male: 53.52 years
Female: 55.28 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.17 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 5.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.5 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 92% of population
Rural: 51% of population
Total: 74% of population
Urban: 8% of population
Rural: 49% of population
Total: 26% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 56% of population
Rural: 35% of population
Total: 47% of population
Urban: 44% of population
Rural: 65% of population
Total: 53% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 5.3% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 610,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 37,000 (2009 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)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 16.6% (2006)

Education Expenditures:

 3.7% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 67.9%
Male: 77%
Female: 59.8% (2001 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 10 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 9 years (2009)

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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; amended April 2008

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt


 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 (with no term limits per 2008 constitutional amendment); election last held on 9 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2018); prime minister appointed by the president

Election results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 78.0%, John FRU NDI 10.7%, Garga Haman ADJI 3.2%, Adamou Ndam NJOYA 1.7%, Paul Abine AYAH 1.3%, other 5.1%

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 July 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 Robert P. JACKSON
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 Symbols:


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

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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 confronting other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, 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 led to the significant slowdown in growth in 2010. 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):

 $44.33 billion (2010 est.)
$43.04 billion (2009 est.)
$42.22 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $22.48 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3% (2010 est.)
2% (2009 est.)
2.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $2,300 (2010 est.)
$2,300 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 19.7%
Industry: 31.4%
Services: 48.9% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 7.836 million (2010 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 / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.3%
Highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 44.6 (2001)
47.7 (1996)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 20,000-30,000 (Chad); 3,000 (Nigeria); 24,000 (Central African Republic) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 19.3% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $3.881 billion
Expenditures: $4.434 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 17.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 16.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
15.1% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 1.3% (2010 est.)
3% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 NA% (31 December 2010 est.)
4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 14% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $2.881 billion (31 December 2008)
$2.616 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $1.756 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.698 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $3.264 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.188 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $5.344 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.103 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $1.587 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.58 billion (31 December 2009 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% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 5.421 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 2.7%
Hydro: 97.3%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 4.883 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 65,330 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 30,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 101,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 46,490 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 200 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 20 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 20 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$825.1 million (2010 est.)
-$1.137 billion (2009 est.)


 $4.494 billion (2010 est.)
$4.079 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

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

Exports - Partners:

 Spain 15.1%, Netherlands 12.8%, China 9.4%, Italy 9.3%, France 6.5%, US 6.4% (2010)


 $4.975 billion (2010 est.)
$4.405 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food

Imports - Partners:

 France 19.1%, China 13.3%, Nigeria 12.4%, Belgium 5.5%, Germany 4% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $3.665 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.676 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $3.123 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.941 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert CFA Franc (BEAC) to Any Currency

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)
493.51 (2007)
522.59 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 496,500 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 8.156 million (2010)

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 2 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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 90 (2010)

Internet Users:

 749,600 (2009)

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 34 (2010)

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 886 km (2010)


 Total: 987 km
Narrow gauge: 987 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)


 Total: 50,000 km
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

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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 (2011)

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 periodically calls for volunteers (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 4,667,251
Females age 16-49: 4,548,909 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,794,998
Females age 16-49: 2,718,110 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 215,248
Female: 211,636 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.3% of GDP (2009)

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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

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: girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation and both boys and girls are trafficked for forced labor in sweatshops, bars, restaurants, street vending, mining, 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; Nigerian and Beninese children transiting Cameroon to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, or adjacent countries often fall victim to traffickers; it is a source country for women transported by sex-trafficking rings to Europe; Cameroonian trafficking victims were reported in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Norway, and Senegal

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - while the government modestly increased its efforts to prevent trafficking, including the creation of an inter-ministerial committee and a national action plan, it failed to convict or punish trafficking offenders, including complicit officials, under its child trafficking law, did not take steps to enact a 2006 draft law prohibiting the trafficking of adults, and did not exhibit significant efforts to protect victims of trafficking (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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