General Information

Location:

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

Geographic coordinates: 

6 00 N, 12 00 E

Map references: 

Africa

Area:

total: 475,440 sq km

country comparison to the world: 54

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

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)

Natural resources:

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 13.04%

permanent crops: 2.94%

other: 84.01% (2011)

Irrigated land:

256.5 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

285.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

Total: 0.97 cu km/yr (23%/10%/68%)

per capita: 58.9 cu m/yr (2005)

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

Nationality:

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%

Languages:

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

Religions:

indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

Population:

23,130,708 (July 2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

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: 42.9% (male 5,001,984/female 4,927,122)

15-24 years: 19.6% (male 2,286,244/female 2,257,231)

25-54 years: 30.4% (male 3,529,203/female 3,491,125)

55-64 years: 3.1% (male 445,181/female 468,388)

65 years and over: 3.4% (male 337,490/female 386,740) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 85.8 %

youth dependency ratio: 79.8 %

elderly dependency ratio: 6 %

potential support ratio: 16.7 (2013)

Median age:

total: 18.3 years

male: 18.2 years

female: 18.4 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.6% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Birth rate:

36.58 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Death rate:

10.4 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Net migration rate:

-0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

Urbanization:

urban population: 52.1% of total population (2011)

Rate of urbanization: 3.23% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

YAOUNDE (capital) 2.432 million; Douala 2.053 million (2011)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

19.7

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

690 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

country comparison to the world: 10

Infant mortality rate:

total: 55.1 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 31

male: 58.78 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 51.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 57.35 years

country comparison to the world: 202

male: 56.09 years

female: 58.65 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.82 children born/woman (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

23.4% (2011)

Health expenditures:

5.2% of GDP (2011)

country comparison to the world: 137

Physicians density:

0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density:

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:

improved:

urban: 94.9% of population

rural: 52.1% of population

total: 74.4% of population

unimproved:

urban: 5.1% of population

rural: 47.9% of population

total: 25.6% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:

improved:

urban: 58.3% of population

rural: 36.4% of population

total: 47.8% of population

unimproved:

urban: 41.7% of population

rural: 63.6% of population

total: 52.2% of population (2011 est.)

 HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

4.5% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

600,500 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

34,600 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

10.3% (2008)

country comparison to the world: 130

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

15.1% (2011)

country comparison to the world: 48

Education expenditures:

3.2% of GDP (2011)

country comparison to the world: 133

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 71.3%

male: 78.3%

female: 64.8% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2011)

Child labor - children ages 5-14:

total number: 1,396,281

percentage: 31 % (2006 est.)

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

Capital:

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, East (Est), Far North (Extreme-Nord), Littoral, North (Nord), North-West (Nord-Ouest), West (Ouest), South (Sud), South-West (Sud-Ouest)

Independence:

1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

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

Constitution:

several previous; latest effective 18 January 1996; amended 2008 (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

Suffrage:

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

(For more information visit the World Leaders website)

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:

bicameral legislature consisting of an upper house or Senate (100 seats; 70 indirectly elected by municipal councils, 30 appointed by the President) and a 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; a senate was initially designated in 1996 by constitutional amendment but was only convened following a presidential decree in 2013

elections: Senate last held on 14 April 2013 (next to be held NA); National Assembly last held on 30 September 2013 (next to be held in 2018)

election results: Senate percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 56, SDF 14; National Assembley percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 148, SDF 18, UNDP 5, UDC 4, UPC 3, other 2

 

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cameroon (consists of 9 titular and 6 surrogate judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and audit chambers); Constitutional Council (consists of 11 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Higher Judicial Council of Cameroon (a body chaired by the president and includes the minister of justice, selected magistrates, and representatives of the National Assembly); judge term NA; Constitutional Council members appointed by the president for single 9-year terms

subordinate courts: Parliamentary Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases involving the president and prime minister); appellate and first instance courts; circuit and magistrate's courts

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]

Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]

International organization participation:

ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, C, CEMAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA (since 12 September 2008)

chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; current temporary address - 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790

FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Gregory THOME

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 15 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

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. Subsidies for electricity, food, and fuel have strained the budget. Cameroon has several large infrastructure projects under construction, including a deep sea port in Kribi and the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. It also recently opened a natural gas powered electricity generating plant. Cameroon must attract more investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, but its business environment is a deterrent to foreign investment.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$53.16 billion (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

$50.85 billion (2012 est.)

$48.62 billion (2011 est.)

note: data are in 2013 US dollars

 

GDP (official exchange rate):  $27.88 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.6% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

4.6% (2012 est.)

4.1% (2011 est.)

 

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,400 (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

$2,400 (2012 est.)

$2,300 (2011 est.)

note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:

21.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

21% of GDP (2012 est.)

19.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 65.6%

government consumption: 16%

investment in fixed capital: 21.7%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 31.7%

imports of goods and services: -35%

(2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 20.6%

industry: 27.3%

services: 52.1% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc); livestock; timber

Industries:

petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:

4.1% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Labor force:

8.426 million (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry: 13%

services: 17% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2001 est.)

country comparison to the world: 181

Population below poverty line:

48% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

44.6 (2001)

country comparison to the world: 43

47.7 (1996)

Budget:

revenues: $5.089 billion

expenditures: $6.28 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

18.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155

Public debt:

16.7% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

16.1% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.6% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

2.9% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

14% (31 December 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

14% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$3.764 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

$3.482 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$6.195 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122

$5.731 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$2.898 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

$2.772 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

 Market value of publicly traded shares:

$230 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance:

-$1.461 billion (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 133

-$956.2 million (2012 est.)

Exports:

$6.002 billion (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

$6.015 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

China 15.2%, Netherlands 9.7%, Spain 9.1%, India 8.6%, Portugal 8.1%, Italy 6%, US 5.5%, France 4% (2012)

Imports:

$6.795 billion (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

$6.321 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food

Imports - partners:

China 18.7%, France 14.9%, Nigeria 12.3%, Belgium 5.2%, US 4.4%, India 4.2% (2012)