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International Relations of Cameroon

Cameroon generally maintains good relations with its neighbours, but has a low profile and participates little in African regional bodies. Nigeria and Cameroon have a long-running dispute over their border, including the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula. This has occasionally escalated into armed clashes. The ICJ settled the dispute in October 2002, awarding sovereignty of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon. The territory was transferred to Cameroon in August 2006 under the June Greentree agreement which allows for a continued Nigerian security presence for a limited time.


On 12 November 2007, 21 Cameroonian soldiers were killed in the Bakassi peninsula. It is not yet clear who is responsible for the attack, but the Governments of Cameroon and Nigeria have agreed to work together to establish their identity.

Cameroon also has a low profile on the international stage. Cameroonian governments have always enjoyed close relations with France. The country joined the Commonwealth in November 1995. The Commonwealth has since expressed its concern at Cameroon’s record on human rights and good governance and has been in the forefront of moves to improve the electoral system. Former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark is currently leading these efforts.

International Disputes

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).

Cameroon's Relations with the UK

Cameroon and the UK enjoy good relations. The UK has worked alongside the Commonwealth and the EU and, in an attempt to complement their efforts, has provided funding to help strengthen the role of the National Elections Observatory. The UK has a High Commission in Yaounde. The British Council also operates from Yaounde, Douala and Bamenda. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon is Syd Maddicott.

HRH Prince Edward visited Cameroon in June 2004 in his capacity as Patron of the International Award. Baroness Amos, as Minister for Africa, visited Cameroon twice in 2003. HRH Duke of Edinburgh visited Cameroon in March 1999 as part of a working visit in his capacity as Chairman of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. President Biya made an official visit to the UK in March 2004.

Cameroonian Relations with US

U.S.-Cameroonian relations are close, although from time to time they have been affected by concerns over human rights abuses and the pace of political and economic liberalization. The bilateral U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program in Cameroon closed for budgetary reasons in 1994.

However, approximately 140 Peace Corps volunteers continue to work successfully in agroforestry, community development, education, and health. The Public Affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde organizes and funds diverse cultural, educational, and information exchanges. It maintains a library and helps foster the development of Cameroon's independent press by providing information in a number of areas, including U.S. human rights and democratization policies. The Embassy's Self-help and Democracy and Human Rights Funds are some of the largest in Africa.

Through several State Department and USAID regional funds, the Embassy also provides funds for: refugees, HIV/AIDS, democratization and girl's scholarships. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided a commodity grant valued at $6 million in 2003 to fund agricultural development projects in the North and Far North provinces. A similar program for $4 million was approved in 2004. The program will fund an agricultural development and nutrition enhancement project in the East and Adamawa provinces.

The United States and Cameroon work together in the United Nations and a number of other multilateral organizations. While in the UN Security Council in 2002, Cameroon worked closely with the United States on a number of initiatives.

The U.S. Government continues to provide substantial funding for international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF, and African Development Bank, that provide financial and other assistance to Cameroon.

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.

Last Updated on Friday 13th November 2009