About Cameroon

DISCOVER CAMEROON. Cameroon has an exceptional anthropological diversity. From East to West, from North to South, there are more than 200 ethnic groups and as many languages. This assumed social, cultural, ethnic and religious plurality contributes to the wealth of the country, in an environment where the perverse effects of globalization are threatening. Cameroon’s multilingualism and multiculturalism are its first assets, I would say rather its first charm. from North to South, there are more than 200 ethnic groups and as many languages. This assumed social, cultural, ethnic and religious plurality contributes to the wealth of the country, in an environment where the perverse effects of globalization are threatening. Cameroon’s multilingualism and multiculturalism are its first assets, I would say rather its first charm. The charms of Cameroon, of which we speak, are defined at first as a grace, a singular attraction, materialized in a peaceful living together. The variety of reliefs, climates, landscapes, animal and plant species, presented as unique on the African continent, appears as a gift of heaven offered to the Cameroonian people and the world. Beyond the originality of its editorial line, the multimedia communication strategy called “The Charms of Cameroon”, highlights the actors of Cameroon in search of emergence by 2035, according to the course set by Son Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon. This multimedia communication has a pedagogical and mobilizing dimension.

The set of communication tools developed, with varied and expressive images, scrutinize the major orientations of the strategy that will enable Cameroon to make its way in the concert of modern nations, by 2035, in order to facilitate knowledge, information sharing, and ownership by all.

The Republic of Cameroon is found in central Africa, bounded on the north by Lake Chad; on the east by the Central African Republic; on the south by the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea; and on the west by the Bight of Bonny (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean) and Nigeria. The country is shaped like an elongated triangle, and forms a bridge between western Africa and central Africa. Until 1972 the republic was divided into two states, East Cameroon, the former French Cameroons, and West Cameroon, part of the former British Cameroons. The country has a total area of about 475,442 sq km (183,569 sq mi).

Land and Resources

Cameroon has four distinct topographical regions. In the south is a coastal plain, a region of dense equatorial rain forests. In the center is the Adamawa Massif, a plateau region with elevations reaching about 1370 m (about 4500 ft) above sea level. This is a transitional area where forest gives way in the north to the savanna country. In the far north, the savanna gradually slopes into the marshland surrounding Lake Chad. In the west is an area of high, forested mountains of volcanic origin. Located here is Mount Cameroon (4069m/13,350 ft), the highest peak in western Africa and an active volcano. The country’s most fertile soils are found in this region. Among the principal streams, the Sanaga and Nyong rivers low generally west to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mbé and Logone rivers low north from the central plateau into Lake Chad. A network of rivers in the Chad Basin, including the Benue River links the country with the vast Niger River system to the east and north.


Cameroon has a tropical climate, humid in the south but increasingly dry to the north. On the coast, the average annual rainfall is about 3890 mm (about 153 in). On the exposed slopes of the Cameroon Mountains in the west, rainfall is almost constant and sometimes reaches 10,160 mm (400 in) a year. In the semiarid northwest, annual rainfall averages about 380 mm (about o o15 in). A dry season in the north lasts fr om October to April. The average temperature in the south is 25C (77F), on the o o o oplat eau it is 21.1C (70F), and in the north it is 32.2C (90F).

Plants and Animals

Cameroon’s valuable rain forests contain a number of species of trees, including oil palms, bamboo palms, mahogany, teak, ebony, and rubber. Wildlife is diverse and abundant and includes monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, antelopes, lions, and elephants, as well as numerous species of birds and snakes.

Natural Resources

Cameroon is dependent primarily on its agricultural and timber resources. High-yield deposits of bauxite exist in northern Cameroon. Natural gas is found near Douala, and offshore deposits of petroleum are exploited. A small amount of gold is mined. Hydroelectric potential is signiicant; the largest power station is at Edea on the Sanaga River.


The majority of the people are farmers who live in small towns or villages in southern and central Cameroon. Seminomadic herders inhabit the north.

Population Characteristics

The population of Cameroon is estimated today to be about 22,534,532 (2013) people. Less than one quarter of the population adheres to traditional religions; about 20 percent of the population is Muslim; the remainder is Christian. Muslims predominate in the north and Christians in the south. Cameroon contains about 140 ethnic groups who speak 24 major languages. In general, Bantu-speaking peoples inhabit the south, and Sudanic-speaking peoples dominate in the north. Among the more important ethnic groups are the Bamileke, a Bantu-speaking people, and the Fulani, a Muslim people. French and English are both oficial languages.


French principles of education predominate in Cameroon’s secondary and technical schools. Mission schools play an important role in education and are partly subsidized by the government. In the late 1980s total annual enrollment in primary schools was about 1,723,000, and in secondary schools, about 288,500. The University of Yaounde which was established in 1962, has faculties of law, arts, and science. A total of more than 19,500 students were enrolled in institutions of higher education. Today however, these numbers have increased tremendously.


Agricultural activities are the main occupation of the vast majority of the population of Cameroon. Agricultural and forestry products constitute more than half of all exports. In the late 1980s the estimated national budget showed revenues of about $2.1 billion and expenditures of about $2.2 billion annually. Today, these igures are more than what they used to be.


The principal commercial crops in Cameroon are coffee, cacao, tobacco, cotton, and bananas. In the late 1980s yearly production of coffee and cocoa, the leading export commodities, amounted to about 138,000 metric tons for the former and 130,000 metric tons for the latter. Other commercial products include rubber, palm products, and sugarcane. Subsistence crops include plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, corn, and millet. Livestock raising is important in the Adamawa Massif region.

Forestry and Fishing

Timber is traditionally one of Cameroon’s most valuable exports, consisting mainly of mahogany, ebony, and teak. Fishing is dominated by freshwater subsistence activity. Deep-sea ishing activity, however, is increasing, especially from the port of Douala. About 82,500 metric tons of ish is caught annually.

Mining and Manufacturing

One of the largest single industrial enterprises in Cameroon is the aluminum smelting plant at Edea which produces more than 80,000 metric tons annually from imported bauxite. The processing of agricultural products, however, dominates industrial activity; other manufactures include textiles, fertilizers, and cement. Offshore petroleum exploitation began in the late 1970s, and an oil reinery has been built. Cameroon’s output of crude petroleum, mostly for export, reached 64.6 million barrels a year during the late 1980s. Small amounts of gold and tin concentrates are also produced. Today however, these igures have risen tremendously.

Currency, Banking, and Commerce

The unit of currency of Cameroon is the CFA franc (500 CFA francs equal U.S.$1). The currency is issued by the Bank of the States of Central Africa(BEAC), its head quarter is in Yaounde).

Transportation and Communications

Of the approximately 52,215 km (approximately 32,425 mi) of roads, about 6 percent are paved. Unpaved roads are frequently impassable during the rainy season. The country has nearly 1200 km (nearly 750 mi) of railroad. The overwhelming majority of port trafic is handled at Douala. The port of Garoua on the Benue River in the north is open two to three months a year and handles most of the trade with Nigeria. Cameroon Airlines provide domestic and international services. The main international airport is at Douala; about 20 smaller airields exist. The national radio and television broadcasting system has its headquarters at Yaounde and local radio stations almost all over the country. In the late 1980s about 1 million radio receivers, 5000 television sets and 61,600 telephones were in use. Today, almost every shelter makes use of televisions and radio sets.

Government (Executive)

Cameroon is governed under a constitution promulgated in 1996 and subsequently revised. The president of the republic is chief of state and commander of the armed forces and is elected to a 5-year term by universal suffrage. The federal ministers, including the prime minister, are appointed by the president and by statute are not permitted to be members of the legislature. The president also appoints the governors of the 10 regions.


Legislative power in Cameroon is vested in the National Assembly, which consists of 180 members elected to 5-year terms and the senate which consists of 100 senators. The leading political party today is the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement(CPDM).


The judicial system of Cameroon is largely based on the French system with an admixture of elements from the British system. The highest judicial body is the supreme court. Other courts are the appeals courts, regional courts, and magistrates’ courts.


The coast of present-day Cameroon was explored late in the 15th century by the Portuguese, who named the estuary to the south of Mount Cameroon Rio dos Cameros (river of prawns). Merchants established trading stations along the coast in the 17th century, buying slaves, ivory, and rubber. British traders and missionaries were especially active in the area after 1845. The Germans and British began to explore inland after 1860, and in 1884 the former established a protectorate over the Douala area; the British, taken by surprise, offered no resistance to their claim.


After World War II ended in 1945, the mandates were made trust territories of the United Nations. In the following years political ferment grew enormously in the French territory, where more than 100 parties were formed between 1948 and 1960. The campaign for independence, intermittently violent, gained steady momentum during the 1950s, until the French granted self-government in December 1958; full independence was achieved on January 1, 1960. Ahmadou Ahidjo, prime minister since 1958, became the irst president. The new republic was admitted into the United Nations in September 1960. In the year which followed, the UN sponsored a plebiscite in British Cameroons. As a result, Southern Cameroons was federated with the Republic of Cameroon in October 1961, while Northern Cameroons joined Nigeria.

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