Cameroon Facts

Full Country Name: The Republic of Cameroon

Former: French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon

Independence: 1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

Area: 475,000 sq km (184,000 sq mi); land- 469,440 sq km, water-6,000 sq km

Capital: Yaounde 1,395,200 (metro. area), 1,154,400 (city proper), population: 1.5 million.

Largest city: Douala, 1,490,500 (metro. area), 1,274.300 (city proper), population 1.7 million.

Population (2007 est.): 18,060,382 (growth rate: 2.2%); birth rate: 35.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 65.8/1000; life expectancy: 52.9; density per sq mi: 100

Languages: French and English are the official languages. There are around about 250 different African languages spoken in Cameroon and a similar number of ethnic groups. Pidgin English is widely spoken in Cameroon, especially in areas formerly ruled by the British.

Religion(s): Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%.

Location: Geography: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. 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.

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.
Coastline: 402 km

Maritime claims: Territorial sea- 12 nm, Contiguous zone- 24 nm

Climate: Varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north.

Terrain: 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)

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%

Literacy: 67.9% (Age 15 and over can read and write)

Government type: Republic; multiparty presidential regime

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

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

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

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister

Executive branch:

Chief of State: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)

Head of Government: Prime Minister Ephraim INONI (since 8 December 2004)

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.

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.

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

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

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, C, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Economy - overview:

GDP (purchasing power parity): $39.37 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate): $20.65 billion (2007 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,100 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

  • Agriculture: 43.9%
  • Industry: 15.8%

Services: 40.3% (2007 est.)

Labor force: 6.674 million (2007 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.)
  • Distribution of family income - Gini index: 44.6 (2001)
  • Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (2007 est.)
  • Investment (gross fixed): 17.3% of GDP (2007 est.)

Budget: Revenues: $4.178 billion, Expenditures: $3.297 billion (2007 est.)

Public debt: 15.4% of GDP (2007 est.)

Agriculture - products: Coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber.

Industries: Petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair.

Industrial production growth rate: 3.5% (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 82,670 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption: 24,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - exports: 107,400 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - imports: 63,710 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - proved reserves: 95 million bbl (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 105.9 billion cu m (1 Jan 2006 est)

Current account balance: $85 million (2007 est.)

Exports: $3.82 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

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

Exports - partners: Spain 21.4%, Italy 15.4%, France 11.6%, South Korea 7.3%, Netherlands 7.2%, US 5.7%, Belgium 4.2% (2006).

Imports: $3.714 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities: Machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food.

Imports - partners: France 23.6%, Nigeria 13.2%, China 7.2%, Belgium 6.1%, US 4.5% (2006).

Economic aid - recipient: $413.8 million (2005)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.934 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Debt - external: $2.555 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Currency: CFA Franc (fixed to Euro). Pegged at FCFA 655.957 = euro 1.00 currently (July 2006) approx 960 = £1


  • Telephones - main lines in use: 100,300 (2005)
  • Telephones - mobile cellular: 2.253 million (2005)
  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2001)
  • Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
  • Internet country code: .cm
  • Internet hosts: 512 (2007)
  • Internet users: 370,000 (2006)
  • Airports: 45 (2007)
  • Railways: 987 km
  • Waterways: Navigation mainly on Benue River; limited during rainy season (2005)
  • Ports and terminals: Douala, Limboh Terminal

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.3% (2006)

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 cedes sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with a phase-out of Nigerian control within two years while resolving patriation issues; implementation of the ICJ ruling on the Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea is pending due to imprecisely defined coordinates and a 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 (country of origin): 20,000-30,000 (Chad); 3,000 (Nigeria); 24,000 (Central African Republic) (2007)
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, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements 2.218% (2008 est.)

International dialling code: +237

Time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Last Updated on Friday 13th November 2009