Cameroon is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south.
French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The southern portion of neighbouring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon with Yaoundé as the capital city in October 1961.
In 1972, a new constitution replaced the Federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon and later Republic of Cameroon.
Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features:
- The coastal plain at the Gulf of Guinea is exceedingly hot and humid with a short dry season. This belt is densely forested.
- The South Cameroon Plateau is an equatorial rainforest; it alternates between wet and dry seasons making it is less humid than the coast.
- Countryside near Adamawa Region. An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad at Cameroon's northern border and it has a mild climate.
- Then the Adamawa Plateau stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. It has high rainfall between April and October.
- Finally the northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad, the characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall.
Cameroon has four patterns of drainage:
- In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow directly into the Gulf of Guinea.
- The Dja and Kadéï drain into the Congo River.
- In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River runs into the Niger.
- Finally, the Logone flows into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries.
Generic country information can be located from sources which are regularly maintained and reflect current facts and figures. For a generic country overview, please consult the following sources:
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Cameroon ranked 111 out of 171 in the 2018 Human Development Index and 39 percent of its people live under the poverty line.
Poverty has a strong regional dimension. It is mostly concentrated in rural areas and specifically in the northernmost and eastern regions, where structural underdevelopment and recurring climatic hazards have limited opportunities for communities to thrive and break out of the poverty trap. The Far North, North, Adamaoua and Eastern regions are frequently exposed to food crises and climate shocks, including floods and droughts. These, combined with poor road infrastructure, land degradation, outdated agricultural practices, high post-harvest losses and fragmented markets, severely limit people’s access to sufficient nutritious food.
The arrival of refugees driven into Cameroon by conflicts in northeast Nigeria and in the Central African Republic, the internal displacement of people caused by Boko Haram activities in the Far North and the conflict in Nort-West and South-West region, are putting additional strains on already vulnerable communities.
As a result of multiple shocks and stresses, including pressure from insecurity and displacement, the overall food security situation sharply deteriorated since 2015. In March 2019, 3 million person were faced by food insecurity.
Chronic malnutrition remains a public health issue, with 32 percent of children under 5 suffering from stunting. The prevalence of stunting is above the national average in Far North (42%), North (34%), Adamaoua (38%) and East (36%).
For NW and SW 37% of the total population is food insecure, of which 8% is severely food insecure. The total population in food insecurity represents about 1.5 million people of which 900,000 in the North-West region and 600,000 in the South-West region.
High malnutrition rates are primarily a result of limited consumption of nutritious food, diarrhoeal disease which limits the absorption of nutrients, and limited access to clean water, sanitation and health services.
- The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Cameroon was launched on 20 February. The response to the crisis in the North-west and South-West will aim to assist 820,000 people, targeting five times more people than the 2018 Emergency Response Plan.
- The situation in February further deteriorated as violence and ‘lockdowns’ compounded humanitarian challenges.
- Schools and hospitals were particularly affected by incidents of kidnapping and arson.
- The humanitarian situation has fast deteriorated, with 1.3 million people need of assistance.
- Insecurity has forced around 440,000 people to flee their homes. More than 380,000 people need shelter, and some 418,000 people NFI assistance.
- An estimated 3,000 children suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition require urgent treatment.
- There is a high risk of a rapid increase in new HIV infections due to ARV supply disruption.
- About 3,700 unaccompanied or separated children need urgent psycho-social care and reunification.
- Access for humanitarian actors to reach the most vulnerable, and for affected population to needed services, remains difficult.
Facts and Figures
French / English - two official languages
+200 ethnic groups: Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, North-western Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%
Roman Catholic 38.4%, Protestant 26.3%, other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 20.9%, animist 5.6%, other 1%, non-believer 3.2% (2005 est.)
Country size (comparison)
475,440 km2 (472,710 km2 land / 2,730 km2 water)
1,206 km from North to South and 717 km from East to West
Agricultural land: 20.6% (2011 est.)
Forest: 41.7% (2011 est.)
Other: 37.7% (2011 est.)
The population is estimated at 25,159,961 in 2019.
Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 59.4 years (male: 58 years, female: 60.9 years) 2018 estimate
Total: 18.6 years (male: 18.5 years, female: 18.7 years) 2018 estimate
In the East: Central African Republic (901 km), Chad (1,116 km), and Republic of the Congo (494 km).
In the South: Equatorial Guinea (183 km) and Gabon ( 349 km)
In the North and West: Nigeria (1,975 km)
Coastline represent 402 km
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
$ 1,370 (2017 estimate)
Source: World Bank
20191 USD = 583.87 FCFA
Fixed rate EURO - F CFA: 1 Euro = 655,957 F CFA
Time Zone (GMT +/-)
GMT + 1
Telephone dialling code
Driving (left / right)