Cameroon, An Island Of Peace

Made up of about 20 million people spread over 475 442km2, Cameroon is divided into 10 administrative regions, of which eight are French-speaking and two are English-speaking.

Emmanuel Ngota

The country is situated in Central Africa, at the juncture of the Gulf of Guinea. Its neighbours include Chad to the north, Central African Republic to the east, Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea to the south and Nigeria to the west.

Cameroon’s former colonial masters, Britain and France, account for its post-independence bi-cultural heritage: two official languages (English and French), two legal systems (common law and public law), two educational systems, among others.

With eight state-owned universities and numerous private varsities, Cameroonians are big users of information and communications technology. President Paul Biya describes Cameroonian youth as the “android generation”.

While Yaounde is the political capital with about 1 million inhabitants, Douala is the country’s economic power house and has over 2 million people.

Cameroon has been described as an island of peace in a turbulent central African region. More than 250 tribes make up Cameroon. These tribes can be divided into three main groups: Bantus, Semi-Bantus and Sudanese.

Cameroon has two seasons: the dry season runs from November to April; the wet season from December to March. Temperatures range from 23 to 31ºC.

In March, Cameroon was ranked the sixth most attractive country in Africa by the Nielson Africa Prospects Indicator. Attractions include peace, political stability, and natural resources (timber, diamonds, gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, aluminium, nickel, bauxite, petroleum). Only 40 percent of Cameroon is explored. The unexplored 60 percent is an open invitation to investors.

Of its population, 70 percent is involved in agriculture. Key products include coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, banana, oil seeds, grains, cassava, livestock, timber, vegetables and fruit.

The country’s leading agro-industry is the Cameroon Development Corporation which employs close to 23 000 workers. It grows and exports banana and rubber, while its oil palm is sold in the local market.

Cameroon’s business partners include the EU, the US, China, Nigeria and Central African Economic and Monetary Community. By 2011, Cameroon had a gross domestic product of $25.25 billion. With a growth of 5.6 percent, Cameroon has 15 commercial banks and hundreds of micro-financial institutions. Its currency is the CFA franc.

Cameroon’s hydro-electric potential is vast. Work is ongoing with the construction of two major electric dams in the east and south regions. Other projects include the construction of a deep-sea port in Kribi, exploitation of mines, and agricultural reforms.

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