|République du Cameroun (French)
Republic of Cameroon (English)
|Republic of Cameroon|
Motto : Paix, Travail, Patrie / Peace, Work, Fatherland
( French or English "Peace, Work, Fatherland")
|Official language||French and English|
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Presidential system|
|Head of state||President Paul Biya|
|Head of government||Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute|
|population||24,994,885 (as of July 2017; estimate)|
|Population density||52.6 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 2.58% (2016 estimate)|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.518 ( 153. ) (2016)|
|currency||CFA franc BEAC (XAF)|
|independence||January 1, 1960 (from France )
October 1, 1961
(from the United Kingdom )
Chant de Ralliement
|National holiday||May 20th|
|Time zone||UTC + 1|
|ISO 3166||CM , CMR, 120|
Cameroon ([ ˈkʰaməʁuːn ] or [ kʰaməˈʁuːn ]; French Cameroun [ kamˈʁun ]; English Cameroon [ ˈkʰæməˌɹuːn, ˌkʰæməˈɹuːn ]) is a country in Central Africa with around 25 million inhabitants (July 2017). It borders Nigeria , Chad , the Central African Republic , the Republic of the Congo , Gabon , Equatorial Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean . The largest cities are the capital Yaoundé and the port city of Douala .
The Portuguese sailors who reached the first Europeans to the region, gave the today's river Wouri the name Rio dos Camarões by a swarm of shrimp lepidophthalmus turneranus that they found there. The name was later adopted for the surrounding mountains and by the German colonial administration, initially for today's city of Douala and later for the whole country.
The natural area of Cameroon can be described as "Africa in miniature", as it is home to all the main climatic zones and vegetation of the continent: the sea coast on the Bay of Bonny , mountains, tropical rainforest , savannah and, in the far north, the desert . The interior consists mainly of flat plateaus , which rise to the north to the Adamaua highlands and the Mandara mountains, and then gradually descend to the lowlands of Lake Chad in the far north, of which Cameroon holds even smaller shares.
The west and north-west of Cameroon is defined by volcanic mountains along the Cameroon Line , which are dominated by an active volcano near the coast : The high Cameroon Mountain is the highest point in West Africa. The Oku volcanic field rises up to high along the Cameroon line , in which the Nyos and Manoun lakes lie. The Oku volcanic field is located in the Bamenda Highlands , which is home to the highest mountain rainforests in West Africa. The third highest point in Cameroon is the Bambouto massif ( ). Other important mountains of the Kamerungebirge are the sacred mountains of the Bakossi , Manengouba and Kupe . The southern plateaus are covered with tropical rainforest and descend to wide plains in the coastal area.
For substances occurring in Cameroon south and middle floors is ferrallitische floors, so to soils of the equatorial Braunlehme the humid tropics. In the north, the area of the dry and thorn savannah, there are typical red-brown and red soils of the dry savannah.
The climate is tropical with high temperatures that are tempered at higher altitudes. The rainy seasons are predominantly rich in precipitation, but with large regional differences. A total of five regional climate zones can be distinguished (see map).
In the north of the country it is humid with a dry season from October to April and an average rainfall of around 700 mm per year. The period when there is little rainfall extends from July to September. The mean temperature is 32.2 ° C. Due to the high temperatures and the relatively low precipitation in this area, there is a medium probability of drought (every two to five years). In the far north, near Lake Chad , the climate is dry. Cameroon's shares of the Chad Basin with the floodplains of the Logone in the east of the Waza plain are located here . From November, the El Beid River , which forms the border with Nigeria in the west , receives the water for its main flood season.
In the inner highlands adjoining to the south (1000 to 1500 m above sea level) the temperature reaches an average of 22 ° C per year and rainfall of 1500 to 1600 mm falls annually. Here the change from the savannas of the north to the rainforest of the south takes place. The following West Cameroon mountainous region has constant precipitation between 2000 and 11,000 mm. The area at the southern foothills of the Cameroon Mountain has an average rainfall of 11,000 mm, making it one of the rainiest areas in the world. In these two regions there is a "dry season" between December and February, although this time is not completely without precipitation.
The coastal plain in the south has an equatorial climate with precipitation between 1500 and 2000 mm and an average temperature of 25 ° C. There is dense tropical rainforest here. The drier months are December and January.
Basically, Cameroon is divided into four large catchment areas (in addition to various coastal rivers). The watershed of these four major catchment areas is in the Adamaua highlands . In a northeasterly direction, the “northern” Vina and the Mbéré drain into the Chad Basin . The “southern” Vina and the Lom , which drain into the Sanaga, flow in a southerly direction . In the north of the highlands the Benue , and in the north-west of the Faro , a tributary of the Benue, has its headwaters that flow into the Niger system . In addition, there are the Kadéï and Mambéré rivers, which drain via the Sangha in a southeastern direction into the Congo .
Flora and fauna
According to a 2001 study by Bernard Foahom, Cameroon has at least 542 different species of fish, 96 of which are endemic . In addition, over 15,000 species of butterflies, 280 mammals (including the largest and smallest mammals), 165 of the 275 reptiles in Africa, three crocodile species and 190 to 200 frogs were counted. Among the 885 bird species there are 223 migratory bird species and seven endemic species (as of 2017). In the western highlands, the Bakossi Mountains and the Manengouba form a biodiversity hotspot .
The country's natural resources include petroleum , bauxite , iron ore , gold and diamonds , among others . These mineral resources have not yet been used intensively. In the 1980s the United Nations development program gave its first impetus .
Oil development has declined since 1986.
The two largest cities in Cameroon are Maroua and the capital Yaoundé with approx. 4 million and approx. 4.2 million inhabitants respectively (2015 estimate). The third largest city is the port city of Douala with around 3.4 million inhabitants.
The state is divided into ten regions . The original name Province (English / French province ) was replaced on November 12, 2008 by Region (English region , French région ). The regions are divided into 58 districts ( departments / départements ) and more than 300 municipalities:
|No.||Name (French / English)||Capital||Population 2015||
Development Index 2017
|3||Est / East||Bertoua||835,600||0.545|
|4th||Extrême-Nord / Extreme North||Maroua||3,993,000||0.406|
|6th||North / North||Garoua||2,442,600||0.436|
|7th||North-East / Northwest||Bamenda||1,968,600||0.592|
|8th||South / South||Ebolowa||749,600||0.604|
|9||Sud-Ouest / Southwest||Buea||1,553,300||0.598|
|10||Ouest / West||Bafoussam||1,921,600||0.599|
The most densely populated are the grasslands in the west and north-west regions, the coastal province around the port city of Douala and the area around the capital Yaoundé . In contrast, the center and southeast of the country are only sparsely populated.
The birth rate per 1,000 people is 36 (world average 21), while the death rate per 1,000 people is 13 (world average 8). 42 percent of the Cameroonian population are under 15 years old and four percent are over 65 years old.
Information on the number of ethnic groups living in Cameroon varies widely and is partly permeated by ideas of colonial rule ( divide et impera ). Roughly four geographical areas with cultural clusters can be distinguished:
- The societies of the coastal region, shaped among other things by the contact with European traders that occurred in the 15th century (for example Duala , Kpe / Bakwiri and Batanga groups)
- The societies of the southern woodlands, largely shaped by migration movements from the neighboring savannah areas, some of which began a few centuries ago. The low population density and the difficult-to-penetrate terrain favored the formation of segmental societies with special forms of exchange ( e.g. Ewondo , Basaa , Ngumba , Eton , Bulu , Makaa , Njem , Ndzimu and Fang ).
- The societies of the mountainous region in the west, mainly characterized by a favorable geographical location, which already in pre-colonial times led to a high population density and associated phenomena of social stratification , among others in the form of a large number of smaller kingdoms ( e.g. Bamun , Bamileke -Groups ).
- The societies north of the Sanaga basin, mainly shaped by the contact with the societies in the Sahel as well as in particular by the Fulbe invasion in the 19th century or by the confrontation with this ( e.g. Fulbe , Kanuri , Mandara , Musgum , Kotoko , Massa , Mundang , Gbaya , Kirdi ).
People are migrating to Cameroon primarily from neighboring countries Nigeria , Central African Republic and Chad . The UNHCR counted a total of around 400,000 refugees in the country in June 2015. In 2017, 2.2% of the population was born abroad.
The numbers for the various language groups also differ greatly. The Ethnologue database currently lists 285 languages spoken in the country. However, this classification is also contradictory in detail. The official languages are French (around 80% of the population) and English (around 20% of the population), according to the allocation of administrative districts after the First and Second World War (League of Nations mandates / UN trusteeship). Cameroonian pidgine English serves as the lingua franca in the Anglophone regions; Camfranglais , a mixture of French, Pidgin and several Cameroonian languages, is gaining traction in French-speaking cities and among young people.
The main languages of the north are Fulfulde , Kanuri , the Kotoko languages and Shuwa , in the south (about 40% of the total population) mainly languages from the northwest branch of the Benue-Congo family ( Duala , Basaa , Kpe - Mboko , Malimba - Yasa , Makaa , Njyem , Ndsimu , Ngumba and Kunabembe ) and various Beti - Fang languages , including Ewondo , Bulu and Fang . Over 20% speak Sudanese and Az-Sande languages . Important languages in the west are Ghomálá , Fe'fe ' , Medumba and Yemba . In the border area with Equatorial Guinea , Spanish is spoken more and more often . Around 230,000 people in Cameroon are learning German .
In Cameroon around 69.2 percent of the population are Christians , including around 38.4 percent followers of the Catholic Church of Cameroon , 26.3 percent Protestants , around 0.5 percent Orthodox Christians and 4 percent followers of other Christian denominations. 20.9 percent of the population are Muslims and 5.6 percent are followers of traditional West and Central African religions . 1 percent describe themselves as followers of other religions and 3.2 percent as non-religious.
A large part of the population also practices traditional local beliefs.
Liberated slaves of African origin of the Jamaican Baptist Missionary Society were the first missionaries to enter the country in 1841, followed by the English missionary and engineer Alfred Saker in 1845 . The Cameroon Baptists have maintained close relationships with the German Federation of Evangelical Free Churches for over 100 years . In the course of German colonization during the 19th century, the Basel Mission came to Cameroon in 1886 . Two reformed churches have emerged from their activities: The Presbyterian Church in Camerun (PCC) and the Eglise évangelique du Cameroun (EEC). The Basel Mission Deutscher Zweig and its associated Swiss mission21 are active there today with numerous social projects.
Eight Pallottine priests reached Duala on October 25, 1890 under the leadership of Father Heinrich Vieter . Today, the Catholic Pallottiner - mission in Cameroon in the south ( Kribi and Doume) is important.
There are state universities in Yaoundé, Douala, Buea , Dschang , Ngaunderé, Bamenda , Maroua and Bertoua. In addition to the denominational universities (Catholic Central African University in Yaoundé, Protestant Central African University in Yaoundé, the Adventist University in Nanga Ebogo), there is a growing number of private universities (for example University des Montagnes in Banganté and the Bamenda University of Technology and Sciences, Douala Institute of Technology). In addition, in Sangmélima (South Cameroon) there is the Cameroon-Congo Inter-State University, which opened in 2015, with a focus on technical subjects (information and communication technology). The second location is in Ouesso (Republic of the Congo).
The school enrollment rate is 79 percent and is high by African standards, but there is a strong south-north divide. Attending state primary schools is free. School supplies, uniforms and snacks have to be borne by parents, which lowers the school enrollment rate in the southern provinces. In the northern provinces the school enrollment rate is also lower for cultural reasons. Despite compulsory schooling, the proportion of illiterate people is over 25 percent. In Cameroon, the median school attendance increased from 3.5 years in 1990 to 6.1 years in 2015.
An evaluation of the data from the 2001 Cameroon Household Survey shows that boys and girls have equal opportunities to start school; however, girls have a higher drop-out rate as soon as their school career shows irregularities.
The total fertility rate of Cameroon is 4.7 children per woman (as of 2008), which is partly due to the fact that only 13 percent of married women have modern contraceptives.
The life expectancy of men is 55.1 years, that of women 57.7 years (as of 2015). The infant mortality per 1,000 births is 74 and the maternal mortality per 100,000 births is 1,000. Depending on the source, between 5.1 percent and 7.0 percent of the adult population is said to be infected with the HIV virus .
Life expectancy in Cameroon over time
|year||Life expectancy in
Source: World Bank
The area until the 19th century
Until 1884, the area of today's Cameroon was settled by a large number of differently organized societies.
European influence began in 1472 when Portuguese sailors landed on the Cameroon coast. Cameroon got its name because of the many crabs in the Wouri River (then Rio de Camarões , crab river). Trade with the Portuguese began around 1520, particularly in ivory and sugar cane . The slave trade never achieved any special importance on the Cameroon coast; as early as 1820 the slave trade was abolished and the slave traders were persecuted. Finally, on July 10, 1840, the Douala kings signed the international treaties with Great Britain for the worldwide prohibition of human trafficking and slavery. (For comparison: Slavery was abolished in the USA in 1865, in Brazil in 1888 and in Saudi Arabia in 1963.) The slave trade was replaced in the 19th century by the trade in palm oil and palm kernels. The strong demand was a result of the industrial revolutions in parts of Europe.
German colony of Cameroon
In 1868, the German influence on Cameroon became ever stronger through the establishment of trading branches of the Hamburg trading house Woermann at the mouth of the Wouri. On July 14, 1884, the German Consul General Gustav Nachtigal, as Imperial Commissioner, concluded protection treaties with several Headmen of the Duala and other regional rulers , thereby proclaiming the protected area of Cameroon as a German colony . The naming initially referred to the protection of German economic interests. The de facto occupation of the hinterland and the violent or cooperative integration of the companies there did not take place until the following 30 years and was not yet finally completed when the First World War broke out.
In 1911, the Morocco-Congo Agreement resulted in a significant expansion of the colony ( New Cameroon ) at the expense of the French colonies in Central Africa . The territories thereby attached, however, went back to France on the basis of Article 125 of the Versailles Treaty .
During the First World War , the numerically and materially inferior German protection force was able to stay in Cameroon for two years. In 1916 the last garrison in Mora (North Cameroon) surrendered to the British colonial army .
With the Versailles Treaty of 1919, Cameroon officially became the property of the League of Nations , which in turn gave Great Britain and France a mandate to administer it. The country was divided, with France receiving four fifths.
France pursued a massive policy of assimilation . The use of local languages in schools was banned. After 1929, as a result of the global economic crisis, mobility was restricted and a statute of forced labor was imposed, reminiscent of the German forced labor system before the First World War.
The banana and cocoa plantations on the Cameroon Mountain were in the British Mandate area after 1919. They were expropriated, but in 1924 the German companies were able to buy back the plantings at a London auction. After 1933, the Cameroon plantations became an experimental field for a future National Socialist colonial economy ("German Cameroon Bananas").
After the Second World War (1945), both League of Nations mandates were converted into trustee mandates by the UN . The aim of the UN was to achieve gradual self-government or independence for the area.
The path to women's suffrage was different in the two mandate areas: The French area followed the pattern of other French colonies in West Africa: with the establishment of the French Union and the Fourth Republic, women received the right to vote on October 27, 1946. The right to stand as a candidate was not specifically mentioned in the law, but it was not excluded either. According to the Loi Lamine Guèye , all citizens had the right to vote in elections to the French parliament and also in local elections, but voting was in two classes, which gave the population of French descent an advantage. This two-class suffrage was only abolished on June 23, 1956 by the loi-cadre Defferre and confirmed upon independence. The British territory was administered by Nigeria until 1954. In 1954 the House of Assembly of South Cameroon was created, which in 1959 guaranteed unrestricted universal suffrage. In 1961 the southern part of the British territory joined the newly independent Federal Republic of Cameroon, the northern part of the predominantly Muslim northern part of Nigeria. As a result, women did not get the right to vote there until 1976.
In 1947 France created the Assemblée représentative du Cameroun , whose members were determined by a dual electoral college (24 seats for the "Cameroonians" and 16 seats for the "settlers").
In 1956, the Defferre framework law ( loi-cadre Defferre ) granted the French colonies and mandate areas (Togo and Cameroon) internal and limited autonomy.
In 1957 the Assemblée législative du Cameroun (German for "Cameroonian Constituent Assembly") was determined by general elections . On May 10, 1957, André Marie Mbida was appointed by the French High Commissioner ( Pierre Messmer ) as Prime Minister of the first Cameroonian government, which had limited powers (in particular the areas of security, foreign policy and monetary policy remained with France). After the overthrow of the Mbida government in 1958, Pierre Messmer replaced him with Ahmadou Ahidjo . In October 1959 the state of emergency ( état d'urgence ) was declared, which gave him far-reaching powers. On March 13, 1959, even after pressure from the mandate power France, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided in resolution 1349 that no referendum on the election of the first president after independence had to be carried out before independence.
War of Independence
From 1945 on there were repeated uprisings against the French security forces and the struggle for the independence of the French trustee area. In 1948 the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) emerged from the environment of the trade union movement, which, until it was banned by High Commissioner Roland Pré on July 13, 1955, campaigned for the independence of the mandate area with political means. The armed struggle of the UPC, or more precisely its military arm the ANLK ( Armée nationale de Liberation du Cameroon , note the German spelling), first against the mandate power of France and later against the Ahidjo government, began in mid-1955 and ended in 1971 with the execution of Ernest Ouandié in January 1971 in Bafoussam.
On January 1, 1960, after a referendum and the expiry of the UN mandate, French Cameroon gained independence and called itself the Republic of Cameroon . At the 15th General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1960, it was decided that the trust territories should also be given independence. This could be done through complete independence, free association with an already independent state, or integration into an independent state. The British trustees denied their trusts the first option, full independence. The north of the British mandate trustee area therefore voted in a referendum to join Nigeria, while the southern part decided to join the Republic of Cameroon in the form of a federation. Independence and the simultaneous annexation took place on October 1, 1961. The state thus formed was called the Federative Republic of Cameroon . This is the background to the fact that French and English are now recognized as two official languages in Cameroon.
Time of independence
The Fulbe Ahmadou Ahidjo , who had risen from prime minister to Cameroonian president, established a dictatorship. In terms of foreign policy, the country's leadership leaned closely on France. With the help of covert and open French support and brutal repression, Ahidjo succeeded in consolidating his regime. On September 1, 1966 the unity party Union Nationale Camerounaise (UNC) was founded, which since 1985 has been called the Rassemblement démocratique du Peuple Camerounais or Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC).
In 1972 a referendum was held on the future form of government. As a result, the Federal Republic of Cameroon was transformed into a unitary state , the United Republic of Cameroon . After the resignation of President Ahidjo on November 6, 1982, his Prime Minister Paul Biya became head of state and chairman of the UNC. He won the elections in 1984 and was able to thwart an attempted coup . With the newly founded unity party RDPC, Biya promised the democratization of the country and more social justice. Biya won the 1988 elections because there was no opposing candidate. He and his cabinet were blamed for the country's economic and social crisis during the 1980s; it incriminated the government. The demands for freedom of the press and an end to the one-party system grew louder. With the admission of the freedom of the press, many critical newspapers appeared and the opposition in the country grew stronger. At the beginning of the 1990s there were increased unrest and general strikes with the demand for the end of the monopoly of the RDPC. Biya reluctantly gave in to street pressure and allowed the formation of opposition parties, so that in 1992 the first free elections took place, in which Biya won again. The opposition suspected electoral fraud as foreign election observers were hindered. It is more likely, however, that the opposition parties were too fragmented ( 32 parties ran in the election ) to pool their votes. Nevertheless, the result of the election meant that the RDPC (89 seats) had to form a coalition with the largest opposition party, the National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) (65 seats). With French support and skillful playing of his political opponents, Biya was able to hold his majority in parliament until 1997 and was confirmed in the elections that year. The amended constitution of 1996 provided for the decentralization of the state, including the introduction of a second Chamber of Deputies, the Senate.
Since independence, in particular the creation of a unitary state and the renaming of the "United Republic of Cameroon" to the Republic of Cameroon in 1984, there have been repeated attempts at autonomy in the English-speaking part of Southern Cameroon . The South Cameroons National Council and the South Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front (SCACUP) are fighting for a state of Ambazonia , the name of which is derived from the local name Ambas Bay of the Cameroon Estuary. In 1984 the Republic of Ambazonia was proclaimed for the first time . There were protests from 2016 to 2018; in 2017 they were bloodily crushed by the army. According to Amnesty International, 20 Ambazonia supporters had been killed by the army by June 2018 , and 44 were killed by the army.
The former French mandate area East Cameroon has been independent since January 1960, the former British mandate area West Cameroon since October 1961 (see also the decolonization of Africa # mandate / trust areas ).
Cameroon has been a presidential republic with a new constitution since 1960 . According to this constitution, Cameroon is a unitary state , although it has been further decentralized compared to before. The president is elected for a term of seven years and, following a constitutional amendment on April 10, 2008, can stand for re-election without limitation. The National Assembly with 180 members is elected for five years; the second chamber of parliament, the Senate , is elected indirectly. There is a multi-party system .
Paul Biya has been the head of state since 1982 . He was confirmed in the 1997, 2004 and 2011 elections. The last election took place on October 7, 2018. Paul Biya, then 85 years old, ran again and was re-elected with 71 percent of the vote. The country's head of government has been Joseph Dion Ngute since January 4, 2019 , who replaced Philémon Yang after ten years in office.
Paul Biya introduced multiparty democracy. The current ruling party is the RDPC , the former Unity Party. It has been confirmed in its majority since Amadou Ahidjo came to power and most recently in the 2020 parliamentary elections to the National Assembly. The last elections further weakened the opposition parties. One of the opposition parties is the Front Social Démocrate (SDF, social democratic ) under the party leader John Fru Ndi . It has its supporters mainly in the English-speaking part of Cameroon. The opposition regularly complains about election manipulation. Cameroon experts consider the allegations as credible.
Cameroon is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations . It is the first country to join the Confederation without first being fully a colony of Great Britain. The country also traditionally has good relations with France, the second former colonial power. Cameroon is a UN member. It is also a member of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), although only about 20 percent of the population are Muslim.
Cameroon strives to have good relations with neighboring countries. The former, sometimes violent, border dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula with the powerful neighboring state of Nigeria was peacefully settled through concessions from Nigeria in 2008. Relations with Nigeria have improved since then. Furthermore, Cameroon is involved in the Central African Republic with a 120-man peacekeeping force and has taken in numerous refugees from Chad .
After 2006, relations with China developed by leaps and bounds. China has expanded its influence in Cameroon and other African countries since the China-Africa summit . Numerous Chinese companies operate in Cameroon and trade with the People's Republic of China has grown strongly.
Cameroon is a member of the International Cocoa Organization .
Even if Cameroon is seen as an anchor of stability in the region, there are increasing warnings of future outbreaks of violence in the country, especially in connection with the successor arrangement for the office of state president, which is generally regarded as unresolved.
The Cameroonian legal system has a hybrid structure: on the one hand, local traditional, orally transmitted law applies to neighborhood disputes, petty crime and land disputes. On the other hand, written law based on the French model applies to criminal cases. Judgments made under “traditional law” can, under “French” law, be transferred to the Tribunal of Grand Instance / Tribunal de Grande Instance and finally to the Supreme Court / Court Suprème . The court of first instance ( Tribunal of First Instance / Tribunal de Première Instance ) under French law is on the same level as traditional law, which is therefore treated equally.
The New Code of Penal Procedure ( New Code of Penal Procedure / Nouveau code de procédure pénale ) has been in force since 2007, the most important news being the Habeas Corpus principle , i.e. H. the right to protection from arbitrary detention. The deadlines for charges, detention without charge, and the right to a lawyer are now guaranteed. The police have been trained accordingly in several waves since then. The new law has made clear progress towards the rule of law .
In the course of decolonization, Cameroon has allowed judgments for “witchcraft” in the judiciary. Since then, people can be found guilty of witchcraft by calling in a witch doctor as a witness - the punishment can range from heavy fines to years of imprisonment or forced labor. The belief in witchcraft is widespread in Cameroon.
Homosexuality is also threatened with imprisonment . The prison sentence is six months to five years, and a fine of up to 305 euros (converted) is imposed.
The Cameroonian military has a Territorial Army , Navy and Air Force and currently has around 23,100 soldiers on duty. There is no conscription . Cameroon spent almost 1.3 percent of its economic output or 408 million US dollars on its armed forces in 2017.
The entire road network covered around 51,350 km in 2016, of which only 4108 km are paved.
In contrast to most other African countries, the economy of Cameroon was able to benefit from a liberal economic policy for a long time. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) was around 29.3 billion dollars in 2016 (2002: 8.9 billion euros). The average annual income per inhabitant is around 1,200 euros (2002: 550 dollars). In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Cameroon ranks 116th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2017, the country was ranked 150th out of 180 countries in the Index for Economic Freedom .
The country's GDP is made up of 23 percent agriculture , 28 percent industry and 49 percent services . Although agriculture accounts for only 23 percent of GDP, around 50 percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture. However, this number has declined slightly in recent years.
Douala is the economic center of the CEMAC zone.
For eleven years (1990–2001) there was an annual inflation rate of 4.9 percent. In 2017, inflation was 0.7%. Economic growth in the same year was 4%.
In 2010 almost 569,000 tourists visited the country. Tourism income in 2015 was $ 450 million.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
( purchasing power parity )
GDP per capita
( purchasing power parity )
(as a percentage of GDP)
The unemployment rate for the year 1992 with an average of 25 percent of the population. A large proportion of the population is employed in the informal sector with no social security and no protection from labor law. The largest employer that employs employees under current labor and social security law is the state.
The applicable labor law is based on the French model and provides generous protection for employees (minimum wage according to the category of employment / catégorie d'emploi , based on the level of training achieved, statutory severance payments based on years of service, few possible reasons for dismissal, generous notice periods). In reality, most of the employees outside of the state sector are employed in black and labor law is only observed to a limited extent (see chapter on corruption).
The state employment service, the Fonds National de l'Emploi or National Employment Fund , headquartered in Yaoundé and 16 labor offices across the country (three of them in Douala), is actively trying to fight unemployment.
The country imports goods worth 1.205 trillion CFA francs . Imported goods are mainly alcohol and raw materials for the production of alcoholic beverages, mineral and other raw materials, semi-finished goods, industrial consumer goods, food , tobacco and transport equipment . A little more is exported to other countries: 1.363 trillion CFA francs, including primarily oil , wood products , cocoa , coffee and domestically produced food. Cameroon has the highest logging of any country in Africa, most of which is not certified and to a large extent is illegally exported. The most important trading partners in 2015 were China, India and France.
Only about half of the population has access to an electrical energy supply . In rural areas the supply is very low at only around 14 percent. At 77 percent, hydropower makes up the largest share of the energy supply. The total output of the hydropower plants is 721 MW , the largest are located on the Sanaga River , of which, however, 60 percent are used for the aluminum industry. The power plant in Edéa , on the Édéa Reservoir , has an output of 264 MW, the one in Song Loulou 384 MW.
The corruption is a widespread problem. In 2016, Cameroon ranks 145th out of a total of 176 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International (2015: 130th, 2014: 136th, 2013: 144th, 2012: 144th the higher the number of places, the more corruption there is). The terms that are used for corruption in Cameroon are many: Gombo, bière, taxi, carburant, motivation, le tchoko and others.
The phenomenon has multiplied since the massive wage cuts as a result of the austerity measures of the International Monetary Fund IMF at the beginning of the 1990s. The excessive bureaucracy and lack of transparency in administrative procedures promote the phenomenon. The judiciary is considered completely corrupt. Lynching of caught criminals in the act is widespread and is usually justified by a lack of trust in the integrity of security forces.
The port of Douala is considered to be one of the centers of corruption. Customs clearance is characterized by a lack of transparency, arbitrariness and bureaucracy. The handling fees are very high. Duties are levied in three tariff levels (10 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent). Because of the high transport costs, which are included in the customs calculation according to international standards and the VAT of 19.25 percent levied thereon, there are very high ancillary procurement costs, which generate great incentives for corruption and cause considerable damage in the economy (tax losses, high costs for imported goods in general and capital goods in particular, legal uncertainty, distortion of competition).
The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 6.5 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 4.7 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 6.1 percent of GDP . The national debt was 32.8 percent of GDP in 2016.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:
Environment and nature protection
Cameroon is one of the countries in the world whose mammal populations are most threatened by hunting. It is expected that populations of more than half of all species will decline by 70 to 100 percent due to hunting activities.
In 2008, Takamanda National Park was established along the Nigerian border to protect the critically endangered Cross River gorillas . Hunting and deforestation had reduced the population to less than 300 animals worldwide. Another protection zone is the Banyang Mbo nature reserve , in which the forest elephant ( Loxodonta cyclotis ) lives.
The following national parks have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2006:
- Boumba Bek National Park
- Campo Ma'an National Park
- Korup National Park
- Lobé waterfall near Kribi
- Lobéké National Park
- Nki National Park
- Cameroonian part of Lake Chad
- Waza National Park
The national holiday is celebrated on May 20th with parades of the uniformed state services and civil society organizations (schools, political parties, companies, etc.). The main parade takes place in Yaoundé on Boulevard of 20th May / Boulevard du 20 may .
The Cameroon grassland , the transition area between the savannah zone in the north and the forests adjoining it to the south, is renowned as one of the most productive centers of West African art. The Viennese ethnologist Walter Hirschberg compared the region to an artist street. In the history of artistically outstanding ethnic groups that immigrated from the northeast are Tikar , the great people of the Bamileke and Bamun to Foumban, which were famous for their sophisticated court art. In Sultan Njoya they found an ardent patron of the arts.
Important artistic productions are various types of masks - also in animal form, richly carved door posts, drums and stools as well as glass bead applications on fabric masks, calabashes , figures and throne-like armchairs.
Well-known representatives of the visual arts in the present are u. a. Pascale Marthine Tayou , Hervé Yamguen and Joseph-Francis Sumégné . The Salon Urbain de Douala (SUD), organized by the arts center Doual'art , has established itself as the central meeting in recent years .
In the 2020 press freedom list published by Reporters Without Borders , Cameroon was ranked 134th out of 180 countries. According to the NGO report, the press freedom situation in the country is "difficult".
Well-known Cameroonian French-language writers include Francis Bebey , Mongo Beti , Calixthe Beyala , Papé Mongo , Ferdinand Oyono and René Philombe . Mongo Beti caused a sensation in his 1956 novel Le pauvre Christ de Bomba (The poor Christian of Bomba) with its critical portrayal of the missionaries. Jean Ikellé-Matiba (1936–1984), who lived temporarily in France and Germany, dealt with the colonial period in his book Cette Afrique-là (1963), which was awarded the Great Literature Prize of Black Africa . In German appeared an African Life Report: Eagle and lily in Cameroon . It tells the story of a Cameroonian who - socialized in a Prussian-Protestant way - worked for the German conquerors and returned to his village under the French colonial administration. Patrice Nganang (* 1970) in Yaounde, studied a. a. in Frankfurt and Berlin literary studies and has lived in the USA since 2000, where he works at Shippensburg University / Pennsylvania. In 2001 he received the Prix Litteraire Marguerite Yourcenar for Temps de chien and in 2002 the Great Literature Prize for Black Africa .
The English-speaking writers of Cameroon who were heavily influenced by Nigerian literature include Sankie Maimos (with I am Vindicated from 1959, the first literary publication by an English-speaking Cameroonian, and A Few Nights and Days , 1966), the playwright Bole Butake , Mbella Sonne Dipoko , Jedida Asheri ( Promise , 1969), Kenjo Jumbam ( The White Man of God , 1980) and Nsanda Eba ( The Good Foot , 1977).
The directors Jean-Marie Teno and Jean-Pierre Bekolo became particularly well known . The actor Emile Abossolo M'bo has also become known as a character actor in many African films in recent years (including Ezra by Newton I. Aduaka , Les Saignantes by Jean-Pierre Bekolo, When the Wind Touched the Sand by Marion Hansel , Africa Paradis by Sylvestre Amoussou ). He also plays in Night on Earth by Jim Jarmusch with.
One of the most famous musicians in the country is the poet, singer, composer and songwriter Francis Bebey . In 1969 he wrote the ethnomusicus work Musique de L'Afrique , which was widely used in the 1975 English translation, African Music: A People's Art . Also Manu Dibango , who with his album Soul Makossa was known to mention. Makossa is the style of music or rhythm that is at home in the littoral province around the city of Douala. The music was developed by Nelle Eyoum. Other representatives are Albert Premier, Ange Bagnia, Ben Decca, Efilingue Hiroshima and Grace Decca. The Bikutsi dance and music style comes from the area around Yaoundé. Modern pop singers are Dora Decca from Douala, Petit Pays , Sérgo Polo and Longue Longue. The singer Siyou Isabelle Ngnoubamdjum from Bafang has made a name for herself in the musical segment of gospels and spirituals in Germany, France and Cameroon. In the field of jazz / world music , the multi-instrumentalist Richard Bona from Cameroon deserves special mention, as well as Jean Férouze Darouiche, who was awarded the prize for the best ethno-jazz recording in 1986 with the Voodoo Gang formation, which consists of three brothers . Wes Madiko combines traditional music from Eastern Cameroon with modern influences. Keng Godefroy, Saint Bruno, No T'ack De wo, Tala Jeannot, Takam II and Tapros - all from the Bamilike region - play traditional grassland music and mix modern elements to varying degrees. The center of the Cameroonian music industry is Douala, where a significant number of musicians, studios and video production companies are concentrated.
A coherent distribution area of an African harp type extends from North Cameroon with the bow harp kundi der Azande across Central Africa to South Sudan. The musical instruments characteristic of South Cameroon are the mvet bridge harp , which is part of an epic singing tradition, and the portable xylophone mendzan , which, together with slit drums , single-headed drums and rattles, characterizes the traditional bikutsi ensemble. The Bamileke in the west are known for ceremonial mask dances performed by secret societies. In the western grasslands there are some special lamellophones , such as the timbrh of Wute .
Diplomatic representatives from Cameroon at the United Nations or in other capitals - according to the Minister for Culture Ama Tutu Muna in Berlin (in 2010) - often wear colorful Kaba Ngondo clothing. The general rule in Cameroon for receptions with a formal character is that either formal European clothing (suit, tie for men and ensemble for women) or traditional clothing is worn. This is often noted accordingly on the invitation to the event.
The most popular sport in Cameroon is soccer . For the first time, the national soccer team The Indomptable Lions / Les Lions Indomptables (German: The Indomitable Lions ) became world-famous through successes (three draws) at the Soccer World Cup in Spain in 1982 , where they only narrowly failed in the preliminary round against eventual world champions Italy. Eight years later followed a triumph at the Soccer World Cup in Italy in 1990 , where they were the first African team to advance to the quarter-finals, where they lost 3-2 to England after extra time. The star of the team was Roger Milla , who was voted Africa's Footballer of the Year twice . As a result, Cameroon was able to qualify for the soccer World Cup three times.
The victory at the Olympic Games in 2000 and the African Championships in 2000 and 2002 followed. Cameroon took part in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa , but retired after losing three games in the preliminary round, as well as at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil . In 2017 the team won the African Championship for the fifth time.
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