Overview

  • Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country with a population of about 24 (2017) million. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, it shares its borders with Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. Two of its regions (bordering southern Nigeria) are Anglophone, while the rest of the country is Francophone. Cameroon is endowed with rich natural resources, including oil and gas, minerals, high-value species of timber, and agricultural products, such as coffee, cotton, cocoa, maize, and cassava.

    Political Context

    Cameroon’s ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), has long dominated the country’s political landscape, occupying 148 of 180 seats in the National Assembly and 81 of 100 in the Senate. In November 2018, disputed election results returned President Paul Biya to office. Africa’s second-longest serving president, Biya has held power since 1982.

    Although, in spite of its diverse population, Cameroon has enjoyed peace for many decades, the situation is changing in its northernmost regions, where Boko Haram is waging a low intensity war, and in the Anglophone regions, where a secessionist insurgency has broken out. About 400 civilians have died in these insurgencies since September 2017, plus 160 members of the military, gendarmerie, and police. Human rights groups say at least 160,000 Cameroonians have been internally displaced since December 2017, and 20,000 have fled to Nigeria. Cameroon hosts about 93,000 Nigerian and 240,00 Central African refugees. 

    Social Context

    Because its poverty reduction rate is lagging behind its population growth rate, the overall number of poor in Cameroon increased by 12% to 8.1 million between 2007 and 2014, and poverty is increasingly concentrated, with 56% of poor living in the North and Far North.

    Economic Overview

    Cameroon is the largest economy in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), a region experiencing an economic crisis triggered by the steep fall in oil prices. Along with its CEMAC partners, Cameroon has therefore had to put fiscal adjustment measures in place to adjust to the shock in Terms of Trade and restore macro-stability and confidence in the common currency.

    On a more positive note, growth in Cameroon accelerated in the first quarter of 2018 and is expected to reach 3.8% for the year. The rebound is driven by an increase in natural gas, with a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) offshore terminal coming online; an uptick in agriculture, boosted by stronger demand from neighboring Chad, CAR, and Nigeria; and public works preparations for the 2019 Africa football cup (now relocated). The World Bank’s most recent Country Economic Memorandum, issued in April 2017, notes that if Cameroon is to become an upper-middle-income country by 2035, it will have to increase productivity and unleash the potential of its private sector.

    Specifically, Cameroon’s real GDP will have to grow by roughly 8% (or 5.7% per capita) over 2015 to 2035, which in turn will require the investment share of GDP to increase from about 20% in 2015 to 30% in 2035, and productivity growth to reach 2% over the same period from its average zero growth rate over the past decade. These challenges, though daunting, can be met.

    Development Challenges

    Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investment. It ranks 153rd out of 180 countries in the 2017 Transparency International corruption perceptions index, and 163rd out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018  report.

    Last Updated: Dec 03, 2018

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Cameroon

    Cameroon was declared IBRD creditworthy in 2014 and is currently a blend country: Its IDA18 allocation is about $787 million and current IBRD exposure limit, $392 million. In FY 17, its first IBRD operations involved: Transport Sector Development Project; Electricity Transmission and Reform Project; and a MIGA guarantee for hydropower on the Sanaga River. The World Bank’s portfolio comprises 18 national IDA, Global Environment Fund, and Trust Fund operations, with a net commitment of $2,379 million.

    The World Bank has adopted a new Country Partnership Framework for Cameroon for the period 2017-2021, aligned with the government’s 2010-2013 Growth and Employment Strategy. This new framework includes 12 objectives grouped into three areas:

    • eliminate multiple poverty traps in rural areas, in particular in the northern regions;
    • strengthen infrastructure and private sector development; and
    • improve governance.

    The World Bank is supporting the improvement of Cameroon’s competitiveness in energy, transport, and telecommunications. It is also working on its business climate. The Bank is also helping improve service delivery for human development, through a social safety net system and local development, with a focus on delivering more access to basic services through infrastructure upgrades and capacity building in Cameroon’s northern regions.

    Last Updated: Dec 03, 2018

  • Boosting Electricity Production

    The World Bank is helping Cameroon’s government boost people’s access to electricity. Its generating capacity has been increased by the Kribi Gas Power Project, resulting in an 216 MW expansion. IDA is supporting the development of the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project that will contribute to unlocking up to 6,000 MW in hydropotential on the Sanaga River. The IBRD is involved in work on the 420-MW Upstream Nachtigal Hydroelectric Project.

    Enhancing Regional Trade and Integration

    The CEMAC Transport and Transit Facilitation Project  is a regional IDA project totaling $680 million, of which $409 million (62%) has been earmarked for Cameroon and focuses on two main transit corridors: Douala-N’Djamena and Douala-Bangui. The project has reduced the average transit time imports undergo from exiting the port of Douala in Cameroon to arriving in N’Djamena in Chad, and of their dwell times at the port of Douala.

    Improving Agricultural Competitiveness

    Current World Bank engagement in the agricultural sector consists of two, IDA-financed lending operations: the Agriculture Investment and Market Development Project  ($100 million in IDA funds and $25 million in IFC funds), which seeks to transform the low-productivity, subsistence-oriented cassava, maize, and sorghum subsectors into commercially oriented and competitive value chains in four agro-ecological zones; and the Livestock Development Project ($100 million from IDA) that aims to improve productivity, market access, and the livelihoods of small livestock farmers in target agro-ecological zones, including pastoralists in the Far North.

    Developing Rural Areas and Improving Social Services

    The multi-donor, IDA-funded Community Development Program Support Project is an important instrument used in the implementation of the government’s rural development strategy. The project assists the Government of Cameroon in setting up and implementing a decentralized financing mechanism to introduce participatory community development in rural areas and improve access to basic social services. The program has generated strong local support from the towns and communities involved. The project has accomplished the following: helped improve school infrastructure around the country; provided 270,000 people with access to potable water; and improved the access of 20,000 households to roads and basic social services.

    Better Access and Quality of Health Services

    The ongoing Health Sector Support Investment Project targets district-level activities, providing financial resources and a performance-based incentive system to boost outcomes in health facilities across 26 districts covering a total population of 2.5 million. Management tools (used within the Performance Based Financing, PBF) framework engendered behavioral change among health staff, and thereby assisted facilities to improve their governance and the efficiency of their use of the financial resources generated through service delivery.

    An impact evaluation of the PBF pilot was completed in 2016, showing significant improvements in the utilization and quality of essential health services (the percentage of fully vaccinated children increased from 47% to 88% in PBF facility catchment areas).

    Improving the Quality and Efficiency of the Education System

    The Education Development Capacity Building and Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA-FTI) grant for education supported activities to improve the equity and quality of learning in the sector.

    The Equity and Quality for Improved Learning Project is supporting a transition, moving from teachers financed by parents in public schools to government contract teachers, providing training to existing and contract teachers, and providing learning materials.

    Last Updated: Dec 03, 2018

  • Cameroon is one of the least aid-dependent countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. International partners such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), the Banque de Développement des États de l’Afrique Centrale (BDEAC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, and Germany have strengthened their coordination mechanisms in order to further the Paris Declaration and Busan agendas for Cameroon.

    Last Updated: Dec 03, 2018

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LENDING

Cameroon: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Nouvelle Route Bastos
B.P. 1128
Yaoundé, Cameroon
+237-2-22-50-38-15
For general information and inquiries
Odilia R. Hebga
Communications Officer
+237-2-22-50-80-45
ohebga@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
cameroonalert@worldbank.org