Cameroon Coat of Arms
The former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon merged in 1961 to form the present country. Cameroon has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite a slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.
Largest city: Douala
Official Language: French and English
Area: 475,422 km2
Currency : Central African CFA
Time zone: WAT(UTC+1)
Climate: Varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid hot in north.
Natural resources: Petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 12.54 % Permanent crops: 2.52 Other: 84.94%
Irrigated: 260 sq km(2003)
Total: 0.99 cu km
• Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
• 6 00 N, 12 00 E
• total: 475,440 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 53
• land: 472,710 sq km
• water: 2,730 sq km
Area - comparative:
• slightly larger than California
• 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
• 402 km
• territorial sea: 12 nm
• contiguous zone: 24 nm
• varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north
• diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
• lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
• highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)
• petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
• arable land: 12.54%
• permanent crops: 2.52%
• other: 84.94% (2005)
• 260 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
• 285.5 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
• total: 0.99 cu km/yr (18%/8%/74%)
• per capita: 61 cu m/yr (2000)
• volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
Environment - current issues:
• waterborne diseases are prevalent;
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
• 18,879,301country comparison to the world: 58
• 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 (July 2009 est.)
• 0-14 years: 40.9% (male 3,891,762/female 3,822,870)
• 15-64 years: 55.9% (male 5,298,143/female 5,250,493)
• 65 years and over: 3.3% (male 283,289/female 332,744) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
• 2.19% (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 41
• 34.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 40
• 12.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 34
• urban population: 57% of total population (2008)
• rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
• total: 63.34 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 36
• male: 68.08 deaths/1,000 live births
• female: 58.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
• total population: 53.69 yearscountry comparison to the world: 201
• male: 52.89 years
• female: 54.52 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
• 4.33 children born/woman (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 42
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
• 540,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 19
Major infectious diseases:
• degree of risk: very high
• food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
• vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
• water contact disease: schistosomiasis
• respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
• animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
• Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%
• indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
• 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
• definition: age 15 and over can read and write
• total population: 67.9%
• male: 77%
• female: 59.8% (2001 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
• total: 9 years
• male: 10 years
• female: 8 years (2006)
• 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
• republic; multiparty presidential regime
• 10 regions (regions, singular - region); Adamaoua, Centre, Est, Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, North-West (Nord-Ouest), Ouest, Sud, South-West (Sud-Ouest)
• 1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
• Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
• approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996
• based on French civil law system, with common law influence; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
• three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow, with a yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band
• 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 facing other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. International oil and cocoa prices have a significant impact on the economy. 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.
Belo Weekly Market (Boyo Division, NW Region)
• Description: Experience the hustle and bustle of this busy village market. Every 8 days, traders come from across Boyo Division and further to sell their wares. These include fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, clothes, fabric and much, much more.
• Accessibility & Transport: 1/5, 5 minute walk from Belo centre.
• Cost: 0 CFA to enter the market, how much you spend is up to you!
• Time Needed: Allow a minimum of 30 minutes just to walk around the market.
Babanki Tungo (Ngokatunjia Division, NW Region)
• Description: Babanki Tungoh is set in a stunning volcanic landscape with three towering rock outcrops surrounding the village, which give their names to the three main families in Babanki. In the village you can discover the crafts of traditional carvers, such as statues and masks.
A trek to the lake of Babanki offers a way to see the surrounding countryside, with this stunning lake as the highlight. The best way to take full advantage of the scenery this area has to offer is to undertake a homestay in Lower Babanki, where you will be served traditional meals and also find museum owned by your host.
• Accessibility & Transport: The town of Babanki is situated approximately 2hrs by taxi from Belo. The lake of Babanki is located a further 1.5hrs by taxi from the main town, and an hour’s trek after that. If you wish to take the homestay option, it takes around 4hrs to trek to Lower Babanki where the house is. In the morning the walk to Bamessing is 1.5hrs, where you can arrange for a taxi back to Belo or spend the day in in the town (see section on Bamessing).
Bamessing (Ngokatunjia Division, NW Region)
• Description: Bamessing is a pottery centre, where traditional crafts are made and sold throughout the North West region and the rest of Cameroon. You can spend the morning with a potter to make and keep your own creation and in the afternoon visit the workshop where the professionals work. There is also a large shop where you can buy their wares, prices range from 500 – 150,000 CFA.
o Note: At the pottery centre there is also a small museum and rest house, should you wish to spend the night.
• Accessibility & Transport: Bamessing is reached by taking a taxi from Belo via Babanki, or you may reach the town after a homestay in Lower Babanki (see section on ‘Babanki Tungoh’, above)
Bamenda Market (Mezam Division, NW Region)
• Description: A busy town market
• Accessibility & Transport: It takes approximately 1hr to reach Bamenda from Belo in a taxi.
• Cost: The current price of a taxi is 900 CFA, you will also need to take another taxi from the motorpark where the taxi will drop you to the market, which will cost a further 150 CFA. Total transport costs for the day, 2100 CFA.
• Time Needed: Though the journey time is relatively short and the amount of time spent at the market is your choice, you should allow most of the day for a round trip from Belo.
Savannah Botanic Gardens (SABOG) (Mezam Division, NW Region)
• Description: The gardens are situated in the town of Bafut and were created by Professor Ngwa Che Ntehnda. The gardens contain many interesting features other than plants, such as the ‘Gardens of Gethsemane’ meditation area and a fruit orchard. There is also a restaurant and bar (housed in a traditional boukarous) and a child’s activity area. It is possible to book a room at the gardens if you want to stay overnight in Bafut.
• Accessibility & Transport: To reach SABOG from Belo, you take a 1hr taxi to Bamenda followed by a second taxi to Bafut.
Guide: 1000 CFA, per person
Camera: 1000 CFA, per camera
Transport: Approximately 4000 CFA per person, return.
• Time Needed: Traveling from Belo you should allow a whole day, though you may want to incorporate a visit to SABOG with one to the fon’s palace at Bafut (see below).
Ndolé is the national dish of Cameroon. The dish consists of a stew of nuts, ndoleh (bitter leaves indigenous to West Africa), and fish or ground beef.