Cameroon is a lower middle-income country with a population of 23.4 million people. Situated in Central Africa, it shares a border with Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. Two regions are Anglophone (the northwest and southwest regions that border Nigeria), while the rest of the country is Francophone. Cameroon 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 of the 180 seats in the National Assembly and 81 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, the situation is becoming increasingly challenging in its northern regions, where Boko Haram is waging a
With 8.1 million poor recorded in Cameroon in 2014, this number increased by 12 percent between 2007 and 2014, owing to a poverty reduction rate that lags behind the population growth rate. Poverty is increasingly concentrated in Cameroon’s northern regions, with 56 percent of the poor living in the North and Far North regions.
Despite having one of the most diversified economies in the CEMAC region, Cameroon’s economic activity slowed in 2016. Growth is expected to dip to 3.7 percent by the end of 2017, compared to 4.4 percent in 2016. This outcome is due to slower growth in oil production (+3 percent in 2016 against 37 percent 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, which accounts for 80 percent of production.
However, continued implementation by the Government of its infrastructure development plan and interventions to boost the agriculture and forestry sectors have significantly contributed to sustained strong growth in public works and construction and services.
Inflation rose to 1.6 percent at the end of June 2016, largely based on the increased tax rate on alcohol (7.4 percent) and tobacco in the 2015 budget law, and the 4.9 percent increase in prices for services, restaurants, and hotels.
The World Bank’s most recent Country Economic Memorandum, issued in April 2017, noted that if Cameroon is to become an upper middle-income country by 2035, as targeted in its long-term planning document Vision 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 percent or 5.7 percent in per capita terms over the period 2015-2035, which in turn will require the investment share of GDP to increase from approximately 20 percent of GDP in 2015 to 30 percent in 2035 and productivity growth to reach 2 percent over the same period, from its average zero growth rate over the past decade. These challenges, though daunting, can be met.
Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investments. Cameroon ranks 153rd out of 180 countries in the 2017 Transparency International corruption perceptions index and ranks 163rd out of 190 economies in the most recent Doing Business 2018 report.
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018