Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country with a population of over 27.2 million (2021). Located along the Atlantic Ocean, it shares its borders with the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. Two of its border regions with Nigeria (northwest and southwest) are Anglophone, while the rest of the country is Francophone. Cameroon is endowed with rich natural resources, including oil and gas, mineral ores, and high-value species of timber, and agricultural products, such as coffee, cotton, cocoa, maize, and cassava.
The first regional elections were held in December 2020. The ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), won nine of the ten regions. These elections mark the start of the decentralization process provided for in the 1996 Constitution. The new regional councilors will work with the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development to pave the way for the gradual transfer of power and the necessary funds to the regions.
Having enjoyed several decades of stability, Cameroon has in recent years been grappling with attacks by Boko Haram in the Far North and a secessionist insurgency in the Anglophone regions. Since September 2017, this situation has displaced more than 1 million internally and around 470.000 refugees have sought shelter in Cameroon. Following the resurgence of the crisis in the Central African Republic since January 2021, more than 6,000 Central Africans refugees have fled to Cameroon’s eastern region, which is already hosting over 60 % of Central African refugees.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in March 2023 Cameroon was hosting over 485,741 refugees, primarily from the Central African Republic (73%) and Nigeria (26%).
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 concentrated in the country’s northern regions, where 56 % of the poor live.
Since November 2021, Cameroon is experiencing high inflation, driven mainly by shortage and increase of the price of staple goods (bread, wheat and related products, vegetable oil, and meat), which can be explained by the disruption of the global value chain due to Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. The war in Ukraine has impeded Cameroon's economic recovery, heightening inflation pressures and domestic structural vulnerabilities. Despite the global economic turmoil, real GDP growth is projected to reach 4.0 percent in 2022 and 4.6 percent by 2024.
Ranked 142 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Transparency International corruption perceptions index, Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investors.
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2023