Cameroon Country Facts

By | April 21, 2024
Cameroon
Capital city Yaoundé
Surface 475,442 km²
Population 26,546,000
Road network length 121,500 km
Length of highway network 71 km
First highway 2022
Motorway name autoroute
Traffic drives Right
License plate code CAM

Cameroon (French: Cameroun), formally the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun) is a country in Africa. The country is located on the transition from West to Central Africa and has 26 million inhabitants. The capital is Yaoundé, the largest city is Douala. The country is about 12 times the size of the Netherlands.

Geography

Cameroon is located on the Gulf of Guinea of ​​the Atlantic Ocean, and is roughly in the shape of an elongated triangle. The country borders Nigeria to the west, Chad to the north, the Central African Republic to the east and the Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to the south. The country measures approximately 1,200 kilometers from north to south and 700 kilometers from east to west. In the north, the country is much narrower, sometimes less than 100 kilometers. The largest city is Douala which is located on the coast. The capital Yaoundé is further inland to the east.

The south and center of the country is hilly to slightly mountainous, the border region with Nigeria is downright mountainous, as is the Massif de l’Adamaoua across the center of the country. The far north is flatter. Cameroon’s highest point is Mount Cameroun, which forms an isolated peak of 4,095 meters west of Douala on the coast. Major rivers are the Sanaga, Nkogo, Chari and Benoué. In the far north lies the drying lake of Chad. Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, is located on the border with Cameroon.

The climate of Cameroon ranges from an equatorial climate in the southwestern coastal region to a tropical climate in much of the country, but an arid semi-desert climate in the far north. The average maximum temperature in Douala is between 28 and 32 °C all year round. Douala receives approximately 3600 mm of precipitation per year, which is one of the wettest areas in the world. Precipitation peaks in July and August, when it falls between 600 and 700 mm per month. The winter is drier but also has some precipitation. The extreme north is drier and hotter, in Maroua there is only 800 mm of precipitation per year, with no precipitation at all from November to February. The maximum temperatures in that period rise to 40 °C.

Demographics

Cameroon had only 7 million inhabitants in 1970 and grew to 20 million inhabitants in 2010. Cameroon is a large country and with such a population not very densely populated. The two largest cities are the port city of Douala and the capital Yaoundé, both of which have nearly 2 million inhabitants. Bafoussam has 800,000 inhabitants, the other cities are smaller than 300,000 inhabitants. In total there are 9 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. There is inland migration from the underdeveloped north and western highlands to the major cities, which are growing rapidly as a result.

The country is ethnically diverse, with 250 ethnic groups divided into 5 regional populations. However, population statistics are inaccurate and a census has only been held three times since independence. Languages ​​are as numerous as the ethnic groups. There are 4 major language groups, with Afro-Asiatic and Niger-Congo languages ​​being the most common. French and English are the two official languages, with French being significantly more widely spoken than English and serving as the lingua franca. About 83% of the population speaks French and 17% English, in two regions in western Cameroon. The country is formally multilingual but very few people speak both French and English. German is taught to some extent in Cameroon.

Economy

Cameroon is a poor country, but the level of wealth is slightly higher than most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Extreme poverty is relatively less common in Cameroon than other parts of Central Africa, although a third of the population still lives below the poverty line. About 70% of the population works in agriculture, a large part of which is for their own food supply. There is some industry, especially around Douala. The country also possesses raw materials, but these are only exploited to a limited extent. The limited infrastructure is an obstacle to economic growth.

History

Portuguese explorers visited the coast in 1472 and were the first Europeans in the region. Subsequently, some trading posts were established, but the interior of this part of Africa was not developed by European powers until the 19th century. The German colony of Kamerun was founded in 1884. This colony also included parts of neighboring countries. The Germans brought large companies that went on to develop Cameroon’s agriculture. Two railway lines were also built from Douala, to the mountains in the north and to the central part of Cameroon. In 1914, Kamerun was invaded by the Allies during World War I. The German colony was then divided into a British and French part. The British controlled their part from Nigeria.

In 1960 Cameroon became independent from France and in 1961 the former British colony of Southern Cameroons voted to merge with Cameroon. In 1966 Cameroon became a one-party state and in 1972 the federal system was abolished and Cameroon became a unitary state, governed from Yaoundé. Since independence, Cameroon has had only two presidents. Cameroon has remained largely free from major conflict, but the rise of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and instability in the Central African Republic has sparked sporadic unrest and military action. The English-speaking part, which was formerly the Southern Cameroons, also strives for independence or affiliation with Nigeria. In 2017, the independent state of Ambazonia was unilaterally proclaimed.

 

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