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Overview

  • Overview

    Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country with a population of over 25 million (2018). 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.

    Political Context

    Cameroon’s ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), has long dominated the country’s political landscape. The incumbent, Paul Biya, won the November 2018 presidential election. At 85 years old, Biya, who has held power since 1982, is now serving his seventh term as the country’s president.  In the last municipal and legislative elections held in February 2020, the CPDM confirmed its political dominance by retaining the majority in Parliament and winning most of the communes.

    Having enjoyed several decades of stability, Cameroon has in recent years been grappling with attacks by Boko Haram in the Far North region and a secessionist insurgency in the Anglophone regions.  Since September 2017, this situation has displaced more than 500,000 persons internally and claimed the lives of close to 400 civilians and over 200 military, gendarmerie, and police officers. Figures from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, show that Cameroon is currently hosting over 439,161 refugees, primarily from the Central African Republic (272,144) and Nigeria (113,420).

    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 in the country's northern regions, where 56% of the poor live.

     

    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 terms of trade shock and restore macro-stability and confidence in the common currency.

    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. 

    Cameroon's growth target—a real GDP growth rate of roughly 8% (5.7% per capita) between 2015 and 2035—will be jeopardized by the COVID-19 crisis and is projected to be -0.2%.

    Development Challenges

    Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investment. It ranks 152 out of 180 countries in the 2018 Transparency International corruption perceptions index and 166 out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report.

    Last Updated: Jul 01, 2021

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Cameroon

    The World Bank Group’s portfolio in Cameroon comprises 16 national operations financed by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank institution that helps the world's poorest countries, the Global Environment Facility, and trust funds, with a net commitment of roughly $2.014 billion. 

    The World Bank Group is financing a transport sector development project and an electricity transmission and energy sector reform project, through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a global cooperative that is owned by its 189 member States and is the largest development bank in the world.

    Through the projects it finances, the World Bank is supporting the improvement of Cameroon’s competitiveness in energy, transport, and telecommunications, and is working to improve 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 providing greater access to basic public services through infrastructure upgrades and capacity building in Cameroon’s northern regions.

    The World Bank strategy in Cameroon is determined by a five-year Country Partnership Framework.  The most recent Country Partnership Framework covers the 2017-2021 period and is aligned with the objectives of the government’s national development strategy.  It includes 12 objectives grouped into three areas:

    ·       eliminate poverty in rural areas, in particular in the northern regions;

    ·       strengthen infrastructure and develop the private sector; improve governance.

    The World Bank is working with the government to respond to the coronavirus crisis (COVID-19), providing support in a number of areas that is expected to ultimately total close to $43 million in IDA grants and credits.  This support is structured around four pillars and one crosscutting theme:

    ·       Saving lives;

    ·       Protecting the poor and most vulnerable;

    ·        Securing livelihoods, jobs and the economy;

    ·       Spurring a sustainable economic recovery by strengthening the fiscal framework, among other things.

    Initial emergency financing totaling $6.8 million was provided to the government to strengthen crisis management mechanisms and purchase protective and medical equipment and screening test kits.

    A $29 million larger-scale emergency project is being prepared in order to continue supporting efforts to combat the pandemic.

    Last Updated: Jul 01, 2021

  • Boosting Electricity Production

    The World Bank is helping the government of Cameroon boost access to electricity by financing (through IBRD and IDA) two projects under way in this sector: the Rural Electricity Access Project for Underserved Regions, which aims to increase access to electricity in rural areas for more than 400 localities and one million people and the Upstream Nachtigal Hydroelectric Project, which will support construction of a 420 MW dam.  The Nachtigal power plant will be connected to the Southern Interconnected Grid, which represents approximately 94% of national electricity consumption in Cameroon.

    Enhancing Regional Trade and Integration

    The CEMAC Transport and Transit Facilitation Project, an IDA project totaling $680 million, of which $409 million has been earmarked for Cameroon, focuses on the Douala-N’Djamena and Douala-Bangui transit corridors. The project has reduced the average transit time for imports from the exit at the port of Douala to N’Djamena in Chad, and 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 agroecological 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 agroecological zones, in particular pastoralists in the Far North.

    Developing Rural Areas and Improving Social Services

    The multidonor, 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 communities involved, helping to improve school infrastructure, provide 270,000 persons with access to potable water, and increase access by 20,000 households to roads and basic social services.

    Better Access and Quality of Health Services

    The 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, thereby enabling facilities to improve their governance and  manage their financial resources more effectively. 

    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 the target 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 from teachers financed by parents in public schools to government contract teachers.  It is financing training for existing and contract teachers and the provision of learning materials.

    Last Updated: Jul 01, 2021

  • 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: Jul 01, 2021

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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
External Affairs Officer
+237-2-22-50-80-45
ohebga@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
cameroonalert@worldbank.org