Cameroon - Country Portrait

  • Area: 475,440 square kilometers 
  • Population: 24,36 million (2016)
  • Official language: French (80%) and English (20%)
  • Independent: East Cameroon since 1960, West Cameroon since 1961
  • Capital: Yaoundé
  • Form of government: Presidential system (within the Commonwealth); Constitution from 1996
  • Average life expectancy: (2016)
    • 57 years (male)
    • 60 years (female)
  • Illiteracy rate: 25 %
  • Top 3 export goods: Oil, timber, cocoa
  • Cameroon is known for: Mount Cameroon is an active volcano and at 4095 meters, is the highest peak on the African west coast


 Kamerun ZoomCameroon is also referred to as "Africa in miniature" because of its diversity.  The climate and landscape of Cameroon's west coast can be separated into two zones. Its location near the equatorial rain climate, means southern Cameroon is very humid and receives high precipitation. Dense tropical rain forests dominate the scene with their innumerable tree species - including oil palm, bamboo, mahogany, teak, ebony, and rubber and cover about 40 percent of the country. Cameroon's forests are therefore an important source of income and food. To the north, it becomes increasingly drier. A large part of the Sahel zones extends over the northern part of the country. Cameroon shares a border with six other countries: Nigeria, Central Africa, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Cameroon’s cultural life is influenced by more than 240 different ethnic groups and linguistic diversity made up of more than 230 languages, which give this country its unique charm. 

Due to favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the most valuable commodity export economies in Africa south of the Sahara. 53.3% of all employed persons worked in agriculture in 2010. In addition to wood, cocoa, coffee, cotton, and rice are key products from the agricultural sector. Nevertheless, the country faces serious problems, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, lack of infrastructure, and corruption. Cameroon ranks 150th of 187 countries surveyed on the Human Development Index (HDI).  One of the biggest challenges is the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS.

Sources: Human Development Report 2013, The World Factbook 2014, ¸2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5.


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