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Countries > Cameroon Cameroon Flag
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Languages   8 languages are spoken in Cameroon. We have 1189 products available for 6 of those languages.


Capital: Yaounde
Population: 13,233,000
Description: French and English are both official languages, though the latter has relatively few speakers. Native languages number well over 100. Bantu languages predominate in the south, the most important being the closely related Fang and Bulu languages, with a total of 2½ million speakers. Also in the Bantu family are Yaunde' and Duala, each spoken in and around the city of the same name. A variety of Pidgin English is widely spoken along the coast. Mbum is spoken in the central regions. A variety of Pidgin English is widely spoken along the coast.
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Cameroon Map

Geography

Location: Western 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
land: 469,440 sq km
water: 6,000 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: 50 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

Natural resources: petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower potential

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 4%
forests and woodland: 78%
other : 3% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 210 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: recent volcanic activity with release of poisonous gases

Environment - current issues: water-borne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:
party to : Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography - note: sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa

People

Population: 16,184,748 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years:42.1% (male 3,443,505; female 3,367,571)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 4,431,524; female 4,392,155)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 253,242; female 296,751) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.36% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 35.66 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 12.08 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years:1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over : 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:68.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:54.36 years
male: 53.51 years
female: 55.23 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 51%, Christian 33%, Muslim 16%

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

Literacy:
definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 63.4%
male: 75%
female: 52.1% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon
conventional short form: Cameroon
former: French Cameroon

Data code: CM

Government type: unitary republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties legalized 1990)

National capital: Yaounde

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

Independence: 1 January 1960 (from UN trusteeship under French administration)

National holiday: National Day, 20 May (1972)

Constitution: 20 May 1972

Legal system: based on French civil law system, with common law influence; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)
head of government: Prime Minister Peter Mafany MUSONGA (since 19 September 1996)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections : president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 12 October 1997 (next to be held NA October 2004); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 92.6%; note - supporters of the opposition candidates boycotted the elections, making a comparison of vote shares relatively meaningless

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)
elections:last held 17 May 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results : percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RDCP 109, SDF 43, UNDP 13, UDC 5, UPC-K 1, MDR 1, MLDC 1; note - results from seven contested seats were canceled by the Supreme Court, further elections on 3 August 1997 gave these seats to the RDCP .

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou NDAM NJOYA]; Democratic Rally of the Cameroon People or RDCP [Paul BIYA]; Movement for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole DAISSALA]; Movement for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or MLDC [leader Marcel YONDO]; Movement for the Youth of Cameroon or MYC [Dieudonne TINA]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari BELLO BOUBA, chairman]; Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]; Union of Cameroonian Populations or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Southern Cameroon National Council [Frederick Ebong ALOBWEDE]; Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, C, CCC, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-19, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, PCA, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jerome MENDOUGA
chancery : 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790 through 8794

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador George McDade STAPLES
embassy: Rue Nachtigal, Yaounde
mailing address : B. P. 817, Yaounde; Pouch American Embassy DOS, Washington, DC 20521-2520
telephone: [237] 23-40-14, 23-05-12
FAX: [237] 23-07-53

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow with a yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia

Economy

Economy - overview: Because of its offshore 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 facing other underdeveloped countries, such as political instability, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. The development of the oil sector led to rapid economic growth between 1970 and 1985. Growth came to an abrupt halt in 1986, precipitated by steep declines in the prices of major exports: coffee, cocoa, and petroleum. Export earnings were cut by almost one-third, and inefficiencies in fiscal management were exposed. 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. Political instability, following suspect elections in 1992, has limited the effectiveness of aid programs. Currently, Cameroon receives only minimal assistance from the IMF and the World Bank. Although the 50% devaluation of the currency of 12 January 1994 improved the potential for export growth, mismanagement remains and is the main barrier to economic improvement. The devaluation led to a spurt in inflation to 48% in 1994, but it moderated in 1995-96. Progress toward privatization of remaining state industry remains slow.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $26.4 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4.9% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 44%
industry: 20%
services:36% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 2% (2000 est.)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: agriculture 70%, industry and commerce 13%, other 17%

Budget:
revenues : $2.2 billion
expenditures: $2.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 est.)

Industries: petroleum production and refining, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber

Industrial production growth rate: 4.2% (1999 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 630,000 kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 3.623 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 3.369 billion kWh (2000)

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

Exports:
total value: $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, aluminum, cocoa beans, coffee, cotton
partners: Italy 24%, France 18%, Netherlands 10% (2000 est.)

Imports:
total value : $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: machines and electrical equipment, food, consumer goods, transport equipment, petroleum products
partners: France 29%, Germany 7%, US 6%, Japan 6% (2000 est.)

Debt - external: $10.9 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid: on 23 January 2001, the Paris Club agreed to reduce Cameroon's debt of $1.3 billion by $900 million; total debt relief now amounts to $1.26 billion

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 541.69 (January 1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993), 264.69 (1992), 282.11 (1991)
note: beginning 12 January 1994, the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Communications

Telephones: 95,000 (2001)

Telephone system: available only to business and government
domestic: cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 11, FM 8, shortwave 3 (1998)

Radios: 2.27 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1995)

Televisions: 450,000 (1997)

Transportation

Railways:
total: 1,104 km
narrow gauge: 1,104 km 1.000-m gauge (1995 est.)

Highways:
total: 34,300 km
paved : 4,288 km
unpaved: 30,012 km (1995)

Waterways: 2,090 km; of decreasing importance

Ports and harbors: Bonaberi, Douala, Garoua, Kribi, Tiko

Merchant marine:
total: 2 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 24,122 GRT/33,509 DWT (1996 est.)

Airports: 49 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m : 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m : 21
under 914 m: 10 (2001)

Military

Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,872,965 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 1,959,357 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 174,308 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $118.6 million (FY00/01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.4% (FY98/99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Demarcation of international boundaries in vicinity of Lake Chad, the lack of which led to border incidents in the past, is completed and awaits ratification by Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria; dispute with Nigeria over land and maritime boundaries in the vicinity of the Bakasi Peninsula has been referred to the International Court of Justice