Republic of Cameroon
President: Paul Biya (1982)
Prime Minister: Ephraïm Inoni
Land area: 181,251 sq mi (469,440 sq km);
total area: 183,567 sq mi (475,440 sq km)
Population (2012 est.): 20,129,878
(growth rate: 2.08%); birth rate: 32.49/1000; infant mortality rate:
59.7/1000; life expectancy: 54.71; density per sq km: 39
Largest city: Douala, 2,053,000
Monetary unit: CFA Franc
National name: République du
Current government officials
French, English (both official); 24 major
African language groups
Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu
19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwest Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%,
other African 13%, non-African less than 1%
Republic Day (National Day), May 20
indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Islam
Literacy rate: 75.9% (2011 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011
est.): $47.12 billion; per capita $2,300. Real growth rate:
—3.8%. Inflation: 3.4%. Unemployment: 30% (2011 est.).
Arable land: 13%. Agriculture: coffee, cocoa, cotton,
rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber.
Labor force: 8.083 million; agriculture 70%, industry and
commerce 13%, other 17%. Industries: petroleum production and
refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer
goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair. Natural resources:
petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower. Exports:
$5.361 billion f.o.b. (2011 est.): crude oil and petroleum products,
lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton. Imports:
$5.901 billion f.o.b. (2011 est.): machinery, electrical
equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food. Major trading
partners: Spain, Italy, UK, France, U.S., South Korea,
Netherlands, Nigeria, Belgium, China, Germany (2004).
Communications: Telephones: main lines
in use: 496,500 (2011); mobile cellular: 10.409 million (2011).
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2002).
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2002). Internet
hosts: 9,553 (2011). Internet users: 749,600 (2011); note:
Cameroon also had more than 100 cyber-cafes in 2001.
Transportation: Railways: total: 987
km (2011). Highways: total: 51,000 km; (2011 est.). Waterways: navigation mainly
on Benue River; limited during rainy season (2004). Ports and
harbors: Douala, Limboh Terminal. Airports: 34 (2011
International disputes: 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, the
unresolved Bakassi allocation, 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 Bakasi
Peninsula, then agreed, but has yet to withdraw its forces while
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 Chad and Niger.
Major sources and definitions
Cameroon is a Central African nation on the Gulf
of Guinea, bordered by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, the
Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. It is nearly twice the
size of Oregon. Mount Cameroon (13,350 ft; 4,069 m), near the coast, is
the highest elevation in the country. The main rivers are the Benue,
Nyong, and Sanaga.
After a 1972 plebiscite, a unitary republic was
formed out of East and West Cameroon to replace the former federal
Bantu speakers were among the first groups to
settle Cameroon, followed by the Muslim Fulani in the 18th and 19th
centuries. The land escaped colonial rule until 1884, when treaties with
tribal chiefs brought the area under German domination. After World War I,
the League of Nations gave the French a mandate over 80% of the area, and
the British 20% adjacent to Nigeria. After World War II, when the country
came under a UN trusteeship in 1946, self-government was granted, and the
Cameroon People's Union emerged as the dominant party by campaigning for
reunification of French and British Cameroon and for independence. Accused
of being under Communist control, the party waged a campaign of
revolutionary terror from 1955 to 1958, when it was crushed. In British
Cameroon, unification was also promoted by the leading party, the Kamerun
National Democratic Party, led by John Foncha.
Cameroon Becomes an Independent Republic
France set up Cameroon as an autonomous state in
1957, and the next year its legislative assembly voted for independence by
1960. In 1959 a fully autonomous government of Cameroon was formed under
Ahmadou Ahidjo. Cameroon became an independent republic on Jan. 1, 1960.
In 1961 the southern part of the British territory joined the new Federal
Republic of Cameroon and the northern section voted for unification with
Nigeria. The president of Cameroon since independence, Ahmadou Ahidjo was
replaced in 1982 by the prime minister, Paul Biya. Both administrations
have been authoritarian.
With the expansion of oil, timber, and coffee
exports, the economy has continued to improve, although corruption is
prevalent, and environmental degradation remains a concern. In June 2000
the World Bank agreed to provide more than $200 million to build a $3.7
billion pipeline connecting the oil fields in neighboring Chad with the
Cameroon coast. In Aug. 2006 Nigeria turned over the disputed oil-rich
Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon—Nigeria had been resisting the World
Court ruling since 2002.
See also Encyclopedia: Cameroon.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes:
Fact Monster/Information Please®
Database, © 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
More on Cameroon from Fact Monster:
- Mount Cameroon - Cameroon, Mount Cameroon, Mount , active volcano, 13,354 ft (4,070 m) high, in the Cameroon ...
- Cameroon - Cameroon Profile: People, History, Government and Political Conditions, Economy, Defense, U.S.-Cameroonian Relations
- Cameroon - Map of Cameroon & articles on flags, geography, history, statistics, disasters current events, and international relations.
- French Cameroons - French Cameroons: French Cameroons: see Cameroons.
- British Cameroons - British Cameroons: British Cameroons: see Nigeria, Federation of; Cameroon, Republic of.
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