Cameroon is a lower middle income country with a population of 23.3 million people. Situated in Central Africa, it shares a border with Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Two regions are Anglophone (the northwest and southwest regions that border Nigeria) while the rest of the country is Francophone. It is endowed with significant natural resources, including oil and gas, high value timber species, minerals, and agricultural products such as coffee, cotton, cocoa, maize, and cassava.
Cameroon’s ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), has long dominated the country’s political landscape and currently occupies 148 out of the 180 seats in the National Assembly and 81 out of the 100 seats in the Senate, which was created in 2013. Presidential elections are scheduled for 2018. While Cameroon has enjoyed peace for many decades in spite of its highly diverse population, it now faces and increasingly challenging situation in its Northern regions, where Boko Haram is waging a low intensity war. Although Boko Haram has lost ground at the strategic level, attacks have not stopped in the Far North. An estimated 7,500 Cameroonians have been displaced internally and Cameroon is also host to an estimated 45,000 Nigerian refugees in the North and 131,000 refugees from CAR in the East.
As population growth outpaces the reduction in poverty incidence, the number of poor increased between 2007 and 2014 by 12% to 8.1 million people. Poverty is increasingly concentrated in Cameroon’s northern regions with an estimated 56% of the poor living in the North and Far North regions alone. This poverty trend was observed even before conflict began destabilizing the region.
Cameroon’s economic activity slowed in 2016. GDP growth is estimated to reach 5.6% at the end December 2016, 0.2 point below its level of 2015. This outcome is due to slower growth in oil production (+3% in 2016 against 37% in 2015) resulting from the maturity of the main oil fields, and to the avian flu epidemic that has damaged the local poultry industry, particularly in the West province which represents 80% of production. However, continued implementation of the government’s ambitious infrastructure plan and interventions to boost the agriculture and forestry sectors have significantly contributed to maintain strong growth in public works and construction and services.
Inflation rose to 1.6% at the end June 2016, largely based on the strong 7.4% increase in prices for tobacco and alcoholic drinks and 4.9% increase of services, restaurants and hotels, as a result of the increased tax rate on alcohol in the 2015 finance act.
Cameroon suffers from weak governance, which affects the country’s development and ability to attract investments. Cameroon ranks 130th out of 168 countries in the 2015 Transparency International corruption perceptions index and ranks 172nd out of 189 economies in the 2016 Doing Business report.
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016