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Cameroon

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Flag
Image:cm-flag.png
Quick Facts
CapitalYaounde
Governmentunitary republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties legalized in 1990)
note: preponderance of power remains with the president
CurrencyCommunaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Areatotal: 475,440 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
land: 469,440 sq km
Population16,184,748
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Language24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Religionindigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

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 movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy.

Map of CameroonMap of Cameroon
Map of Cameroon

cameroon Travel Guide :

Cameroon

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
water: 6,000 sq km
land: 469,440 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 (on Cameroon Mountain) 4,095 m
Natural resources 
petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
Land use 
arable land: 12.81%
permanent crops: 2.58%
other: 84.61% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
330 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
Environment - current issues 
water-borne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note 
sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
Cameroon

People

Population 
16,184,748
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (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 mas)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 mas)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 mas)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 mas)/female
total population: 1.01 mas)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
68.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 54.36 years
female: 55.23 years (2002 est.)
male: 53.51 years
Total fertility rate 
4.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
7.73% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
540,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
52,000 (1999 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 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%
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.)
Cameroon

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon
conventional short form: Cameroon
former: French Cameroon
Government type 
unitary republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties legalized in 1990)
note: preponderance of power remains with the president
Capital 
Yaounde
Administrative divisions 
10 provinces; Adamaoua, Centre, Est, Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Ouest
Independence 
1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday 
Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
Constitution 
20 May 1972 approved by referendum; 2 June 1972 formally adopted; revised January 1996
Legal system 
based on French civil law system, with common law influence; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage 
20 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)
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
head of government: Prime Minister Chief Ephraim Inoni (since 8 December 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister
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 23 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RDCP 133, SDF 21, UDC 5, other 21
note: the constitution calls for an upper chamber for the legislature, to be called a Senate, but it has yet to be established
Judicial branch 
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); High Court of Justice (consists of nine judges and 6 substitute judges, elected by the National Assembly)
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, CEMAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-19, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Raymond EPOTE
chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: 1 (202) 387-3826
telephone: 1 (202) 265-8790
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador George McDade STAPLES
embassy: Rue Nachtigal, Yaounde
mailing address: P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520
telephone: 237 223-05-12, 222-25-89, 222-17-94, 223-40-14
FAX: 237 223-07-53
branch office(s): Douala
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
Cameroon

Economy

Economy - overview 
Because of its 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 a top-heavy civil service and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. 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. In June 2000, the government completed an IMF-sponsored, three-year structural adjustment program; however, the IMF is pressing for more reforms, including increased budget transparency and privatization. International oil and cocoa prices have considerable impact on the economy.
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.)
Population below poverty line 
48% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
2% (2000 est.)
Labor force 
NA
Labor force - by occupation 
agriculture 70%, industry and commerce 13%, other 17%
Unemployment rate 
30% (2001 est.)
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 - production 
3.623 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 3%
hydro: 97%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
3.369 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber
Exports 
$2.1 billion f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities 
crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners 
Italy 24%, France 18%, Netherlands 10% (2000 est.)
Imports 
$1.5 billion f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities 
machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
Imports - partners 
France 29%, Germany 7%, US 6%, Japan 6% (2000 est.)
Debt - external 
$10.9 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
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 
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code 
XAF
Exchange rates 
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro
Fiscal year 
1 July - 30 June
Cameroon

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use 
95,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
300,000 (2002)
Telephone system 
general assessment: 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 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (2002)
Radios 
2.27 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
1 (2002)
Televisions 
450,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
.cm
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2002)
Internet users 
45,000
note: Cameroon also had more than 100 cyber-cafes in 2001 (December 2001)
Cameroon

Transportation

Railways 
1,008 km
narrow gauge: 1,008 km 1.000-m gauge (2002)
Highways 
total: 34,300 km
paved: 4,288 km
unpaved: 30,012 km (2000)
Waterways 
2,090 km (of decreasing importance) (2002)
Ports and harbors 
Bonaberi, Douala, Garoua, Kribi, Tiko
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 11 (2002)
Cameroon

Military

Military branches 
Army, Navy (includes naval infantry), Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard
Military manpower - military age 
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 3,872,965 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 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)
Cameroon

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
oral arguments on the land and maritime boundary disputes between Cameroon and Nigeria were presented to the ICJ; disputes center around Bakasi Peninsula, where armed clashes continue, Bouram Island on Lake Chad, and the maritime boundary and economic zone dispute in the Gulf of Guinea, which also involves Equatorial Guinea; Lake Chad Basin Commission urges signatories Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to ratify delimitation treaty over lake region, the site of continuing armed clashes


Transparency International has consistently rated Cameroon among the most corrupt countries in the world. The Cameroon Police was ranked as the most corrupt Police Force worldwide (2005).


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