Country Overview

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.

Political Context

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. 

Social Context

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. 

Economic Overview

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.

Development Challenges

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

World Bank Group Engagement in Cameroon

Cameroon was declared IBRD creditworthy in 2014 and is currently a blend country.  Its IDA17 allocation is about $390 million. The current, first time, IBRD exposure limit is $469 million. Cameroon’s first IBRD operations will include in FY 17: Transport Sector Development Project, Electricity Transmission and Reform and a guarantee for the hydropower development on the Sanaga River. The World Bank’s current portfolio in Cameroon comprises 15 national IDA, GEF and trust funded operations with a net commitment of $932 million.

The Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Cameroon covers the 2010-2014 period and is aligned with the 2010-2013 Growth and Employment Strategy (Document de Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi, or DSCE using the French acronym). A Systematic Country Diagnostic was approved by the board in June 2016 and new Country Partnership Framework will be prepared in FY16.

The World Bank is supporting the improvement of Cameroon’s competitiveness in three main areas: energy, transport, and telecommunications. It is also working to improve the business climate.

The World Bank is also helping to improve service delivery in three main areas: human development, establishment of a social safety net system, and local development with a focus on increasing access to basic services through infrastructure upgrades and capacity building.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016

Boosting Cameroon’s Electricity Production

The World Bank is helping the government boost access to electricity. Electricity generation capacity has increased through the Kribi Gas Power Project. This has resulted in an expansion of generation capacity by 216 MW.  The planned second phase is expected to increase the generation capacity to 330 MW by 2016. IDA is supporting the development of the Lom Pangar Hydropower project.  This project will contribute to the unlocking of the hydro potential of the Sanaga River (estimated up to 6,000 MW). A new IBRD project is being prepared Electricity Transmission and Reform Project. The main objectives of the project will be to improve the capacity, efficiency and stability of Cameroon’s national electricity transmission network.

Enhancing Regional Trade and Integration

The CEMAC Transport and Transit Facilitation Project is a regional IDA project totaling $680 million, out of which $409 million (62%) is designated to Cameroon and focuses on two main transit corridors: Douala-N’Djamena and Douala-Bangui. One of the main achievements is that the average transit time for imports from exit at the port of Douala to N’Djamena was reduced as well as dwell times at the port of Douala.

Improving Agricultural Competitiveness

The current World Bank engagement in the agricultural sector consists of two IDA-financed lending operations: (i) The Agricultural Competitiveness Project ($60 million) to increase the competitiveness of beneficiary producer organizations working on target value chains, and (ii) the Agriculture Investment and Market Development Project ($100 million in IDA funds and $25 million in IFC funds) to help transform low-productivity, subsistence-oriented cassava, maize, and sorghum subsectors into commercially-oriented and competitive value chains in four agro-ecological zones. The Agricultural Competitiveness Project has been extended until December 2016 to allow the government to complete the infrastructure investments which experienced delays, and allocate resources to support the government response to the recent avian influenza crisis. The Livestock Development Project (under preparation, US$100 million IDA), aims to improve productivity, market access and livelihoods of small livestock farmers in target agro-ecological zones, including for pastoralists in the Extreme North.

Developing Rural Areas and Improving Social Services

The multi-donor, International Development Association (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 ensure 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 to 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. The management tools used within the PBF framework engendered behavioral change among health staff and thereby assisted health facilities in improving governance and efficiencies in their use of 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 (for example, the percentage of children fully vaccinated increased from 47% to 88% in PBF facility catchment areas).

Improve Quality and Efficiency of the Education System

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

The Equity and Quality for Improved Learning Project, is also supporting the transition from teachers financed by parents in public schools to Government contract teachers, providing trainings to the existing and contract teachers and providing learning materials.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016

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, the United Nations, and Germany have strengthened their coordination mechanisms in order to further the Paris Declaration and Busan agenda.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016


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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments