Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country with a population of close to 24 million (2017). Located along the Atlantic Ocean, it shares its borders with Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), 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, minerals, high-value species of timber, 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, 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
Having enjoyed stability for many decades in spite of its diverse population, Cameroon is currently grappling with attacks by Boko Haram in the Far North and a secessionist insurgency in the Anglophone regions. Since September 2017, this insurgency has claimed the lives of more than 400 civilians and over 200 military, gendarmerie, and police officers. UN Refugee Agency figures show that Cameroon is currently hosting 1,171,228 refugees (102,287 Nigerians and 274,688 Central Africans).
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 northern regions.
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
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 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. The public expenditure review published by the World Bank in February 2018 proposes five ways to achieve these goals.
Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investment. It ranks 152nd out of 180 countries in the 2018 Transparency International corruption perceptions index, and 163rd out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report.
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2019