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Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is called “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point is Mount Cameroon in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala, Yaoundé and Garoua. Cameroon is home to over 200 different linguistic groups. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. French and English are the official languages.
Cameroon Country Information:
Capital Yaoundé (58th)
– 2005 census 17,463,836
– Density 39.7/km2 (167th)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
– Total $47.251 billion
– Per capita $2,257
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
– Total $25.759 billion
– Per capita $1,230
Gini (2001) 44.6 (medium)
HDI (2011) Increase 0.482 (low) (150th)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
– Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Calling code 237
ISO 3166 code CM
Internet TLD .cm
More About Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon is a country in the west Central Africa region. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point is Mount Cameroon in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala, Yaoundé and Garoua. Cameroon is home to over 200 different linguistic groups. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. French and English are the official languages.
Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884.
After World War I, the territory was divided between France and Britain as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s. It waged war on French and UPC militant forces until 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.
Compared with other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relatively high political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways, and large petroleum and timber industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Power lies firmly in the hands of the authoritarian president since 1982, Paul Biya, and his Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement party. The English-speaking territories of Cameroon have grown increasingly alienated from the government, and politicians from those regions have called for greater decentralization and even secession (for example: the Southern Cameroons National Council) of the former British-governed territories.
The Bamum people have an indigenous writing system, known as Bamum script or Shu Mom. The script was developed by Sultan Ibrahim Njoya in 1896, and is taught in Cameroon by the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project. The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884 and began a steady push inland. They initiated projects to improve the colony’s infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labour. With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroun and British Cameroons in 1919. France integrated the economy of Cameroun with that of France and improved the infrastructure with capital investments, skilled workers, and continued forced labour.
The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected “colony of a colony”. Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour but angering indigenous peoples. The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations Trusteeships in 1946, and the question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun. France outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955. This prompted a long guerrilla war and the assassination of the party’s leader, Ruben Um Nyobé. In British Cameroons, the question was whether to reunify with French Cameroun or join Nigeria.
On 1 January 1960 at 2:30 am, French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. On 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons united with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahidjo used the ongoing war with the UPC to concentrate power in the presidency, continuing with this even after the suppression of the UPC in 1971.
His political party, the Cameroon National Union (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and in 1972, the federal system of government was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé. Ahidjo pursued an economic policy of planned liberalism, prioritising cash crops and petroleum exploitation. The government used oil money to create a national cash reserve, pay farmers, and finance major development projects; however, many initiatives failed when Ahidjo appointed unqualified allies to direct them.
Ahidjo stepped down on 4 November 1982 and left power to his constitutional successor, Paul Biya. However, Ahidjo remained in control of the CNU and tried to run the country from behind the scenes until Biya and his allies pressured him into resigning. Biya began his administration by moving toward a more democratic government, but a failed coup d’état nudged him toward the leadership style of his predecessor.
An economic crisis took effect in the mid-1980s to late 1990s as a result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatised industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, the former British Cameroons pressure groups called for greater autonomy, and the Southern Cameroons National Council advocated complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia. In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests in 31 municipal areas.
Politics and Government
The President of Cameroon has broad, unilateral powers to create policy, administer government agencies, command the armed forces, negotiate and ratify treaties, and declare a state of emergency. The president appoints government officials at all levels, from the prime minister (considered the official head of government), to the provincial governors and divisional officers. The president is selected by popular vote every seven years.
Corruption is rife at all levels of government. In 1997, Cameroon established anti-corruption bureaus in 29 ministries, but only 25% became operational, and in 2011, Transparency International placed Cameroon at number 134 on a list of 183 countries ranked from least to most corrupt. On 18 January 2006, Biya initiated an anti-corruption drive under the direction of the National Anti-Corruption Observatory.
Cameroon’s legal system is largely based on French civil law with common law influences. Although nominally independent, the judiciary falls under the authority of the executive’s Ministry of Justice. The president appoints judges at all levels. The judiciary is officially divided into tribunals, the court of appeal, and the supreme court. The National Assembly elects the members of a nine-member High Court of Justice that judges high-ranking members of government in the event they are charged with high treason or harming national security.
Human rights organisations accuse police and military forces of mistreating and even torturing criminal suspects, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and political activists. Prisons are overcrowded with little access to adequate food and medical facilities, and prisons run by traditional rulers in the north are charged with holding political opponents at the behest of the government. However, since the first decade of the 21st century, an increasing number of police and gendarmes have been prosecuted for improper conduct.
The National Assembly makes legislation. The body consists of 180 members who are elected for five-year terms and meet three times per year. Laws are passed on a majority vote. Rarely has the assembly changed or blocked legislation proposed by the president. The 1996 constitution establishes a second house of parliament, the 100-seat Senate, but this body has never been put into practice. The government recognises the authority of traditional chiefs, fons, and lamibe to govern at the local level and to resolve disputes as long as such rulings do not conflict with national law.
President Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) was the only legal political party until December 1990. Numerous regional political groups have since formed. The primary opposition is the Social Democratic Front (SDF), based largely in the Anglophone region of the country and headed by John Fru Ndi. Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, which rivals contend were unfair. Human rights organisations allege that the government suppresses the freedoms of opposition groups by preventing demonstrations, disrupting meetings, and arresting opposition leaders and journalists. Freedom House ranks Cameroon as “not free” in terms of political rights and civil liberties. The last parliamentary elections were held on 22 July 2007.
Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie. Its foreign policy closely follows that of its main ally, France (the former colonial ruler). The country relies heavily on France for its defence, although military spending is high in comparison to other sectors of government. Biya has clashed with the government of Nigeria over possession of the Bakassi peninsula and with Gabon’s president, El Hadj Omar Bongo, over personal rivalries.
The Ministry of Public Health in Cameroon is responsible for the maintenance of all public health services. Many missionaries maintain health and leprosy centers. The government is pursuing a vigorous policy of public health improvement, with considerable success in reducing sleeping sickness, leprosy, and other endemic diseases. The demand for all types of health services and equipment is high and constant. The need for modern equipment is especially urgent, with many clinics using outdated equipment, some of which is imported illegally from Nigeria. There is also a shortage in professional medical staff, partially caused by public service hiring quotas. Therefore the staff that works is badly paid and has too much work to do, which makes it difficult to treat patients adequately. Many doctors and nurses which were trained in Cameroon emigrate to Europe – but also to South Africa and Asia – for that reason.
Malaria is prevalent in the Bénoué River Valley, the basin of Lake Chad, the coastal region, and the forests of southern Cameroon. A large percentage of the adult population is affected. Other serious water-borne diseases are schistosomiasis and sleeping sickness, which is spread by the tsetse fly. Cameroon lies in the yellow fever endemic zone.
Maternal and Child Healthcare
In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World’s Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Cameroon is 600. This is compared with 704.6 in 2008 and 522.6 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 155 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5’s mortality is 24. The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal death. In Cameroon the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 0.2 and the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women 1 in 35.
In 2005, the average life expectancy was 51 years. The estimated death rate in 2002 was 12.08 per 1,000 people and the birth rate was estimated at 35.66 per 1,000 people. As of 1999, only an estimated 19 percent of the country’s married women (ages 15 to 49) used any type of contraception. The infant mortality in 2005 was 65 per 1,000 live births. An estimated 29 percent of children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition. In the same year, 62 percent of the population had access to safe drinking water and 92 percent had adequate sanitation. In 1999 Cameroon immunized children up to one year old for tuberculosis (52 percent); diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (48 percent); polio (37 percent); and measles (31 percent).
The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 6.90 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 560,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 49,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.
Education in Cameroon is among the best in Africa.
Two separate systems of education were used in Cameroon after independence: East Cameroon’s system was based on the French model, West Cameroon’s on the British model. At the time, the architects of independence perceived the policy as a symbol of national integration between West and East Cameroon. The two systems were merged by 1976, but studies suggest that the two systems still didn’t blended together. Shortly after the independence, French was considered the main language of the country, but with the rising of English as first commercial language in the world, the balance switched to the latter. Christian mission schools have been an important part of the education system, but most children cannot afford them and are forced to choose state-run schools. The country has institutions for teacher training and technical education. There is, however, a growing trend for the wealthiest and best-educated students to leave the country to study and live abroad, creating a brain drain.
The Constitution affirms that “the State shall guarantee the child’s right to education. Primary education shall be compulsory”. The government has avoided the human rights language and has referred only to “equality of opportunity for access to education”. Education is compulsory through the age of 14 years, when 6 years of primary schooling are complete. Primary school education is free (since 2000), but families must pay for uniforms, book fees, and sometimes even anti-malaria prophylaxis for pupils. Tuition and fees at the secondary school level, indeed very high, remain unaffordable for many families.
The constitution divides Cameroon into 10 semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected Regional Council. A presidential decree of 12 November 2008 officially instigated the change from provinces to regions. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. These leaders are charged with implementing the will of the president, reporting on the general mood and conditions of the regions, administering the civil service, keeping the peace, and overseeing the heads of the smaller administrative units. Governors have broad powers: they may order propaganda in their area and call in the army, gendarmes, and police. All local government officials are employees of the central government’s Ministry of Territorial Administration, from which local governments also get most of their budgets.
The regions are subdivided into 58 divisions (French départements). These are headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers (préfets). The divisions are further split into sub-divisions (arrondissements), headed by assistant divisional officers (sous-prefets). The districts, administered by district heads (chefs de district), are the smallest administrative units.
The three northernmost regions are the Far North (Extrême Nord), North (Nord), and Adamawa (Adamaoua). Directly south of them are the Centre (Centre) and East (Est). The South Province (Sud) lies on the Gulf of Guinea and the southern border. Cameroon’s western region is split into four smaller regions: the Littoral (Littoral) and Southwest (Sud-Ouest) regions are on the coast, and the Northwest (Nord-Ouest) and West (Ouest) regions are in the western grassfields
At 183,568 sq mi (475,440 km2), Cameroon is the world’s 53rd largest country. It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea, and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California. Cameroon’s landmass is 181,252 sq mi (469,440 km2), with 2,317 sq mi (6,000 km2) of water.
The country is located in Central and West Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
Cameroon is sometimes described as “Africa in miniature” because it exhibits all the major climates and vegetation of the continent: mountains, desert, rain forest, savanna grassland, and ocean coastland. Cameroon can be divided into five geographic zones. These are distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features.
Cameroon’s coastal plain extends 10 to 50 miles (16 to 80 km) inland from the Gulf of Guinea (part of the Atlantic Ocean) to the edge of a plateau. In the former western state, however, the mass of Mount Cameroon reaches almost to the sea. The plain is densely forested including areas of Central African mangroves especially around Douala and in the estuary of the Cross River on the border with Nigeria.
The low South Cameroon Plateau, rising from the coastal plain and dominated by tropical rain forest, has an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 feet (457 to 610 m). It is less humid than the coast.
In western Cameroon is an irregular chain of trees, white waters, and six flags that extend from Mount Cameroon almost to Lake Chad at the southern tip of the country. This region includes the Bamenda, Bamiléké, and Mambilla highlands. It also contains some of the country’s most fertile soils, notably around volcanic Mt. Cameroon. This area of tropical forest has been categorised by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion with Mount Cameroon considered separately because as an active volcano it has a distinct environment from the other mountains.
From the forested southern plateau the land rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamaoua (Adamawa) highlands. Stretching across Cameroon from the western mountain area, the Adamaoua forms a barrier between the north and south. Its average elevation is 3,400 feet (1,036 m).
The northern savanna plain extends from the edge of the Adamaoua to Lake Chad. Its characteristic vegetation is scrub and grass. This is region of sparse rainfall and high median temperatures has been included as part of the East Sudanian savanna ecoregion.
The climate varies with terrain, from tropical along the coast to semiarid and hot in the north. Exceedingly hot and humid, the coastal belt includes some of the wettest places on earth. For example, Debundscha, at the base of Mt. Cameroon, has an average annual rainfall of 405 inches (10,287 mm).
The country has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers flow southwestward or westward directly to the Gulf of Guinea — the Wouri, and lesser Dibamba, Bimbia and Mungo to the Cameroon estuary near Douala; Sanaga, Nyong, and Ntem further south along the coast; Akwayafe and Manyu (which joins Nigerian Cross), and the lesser Ndian and Meme in the north of coast. The Dja and Kadeï, however, drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Benoué River (Benue) runs north and west, eventually into the Niger, while the Logone River flows northward into Lake Chad.
Only part of Lake Chad lies within Cameroon. The rest belongs to Chad, Nigeria, and Niger. The lake varies in size according to seasonal rainfall.
Some of the borders of Cameroon follow rivers, including the Aïna, Akwayafe, and Ntem or Campo.
Location: Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
Geographic coordinates: 6°N 12°E
Map references: Africa
total: 475,440 km²
land: 472,710 km²
water: 2,730 km²
Area – comparative: slightly larger than California
total: 4,591 km
border countries: Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km
Coastline: 402 km
territorial sea: 50 nmi (92.6 km; 57.5 mi)
Terrain: diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Fako (on. Mt. Cameroon) 4,095 m
Natural resources: petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
arable land: 12.54%
permanent crops: 2.52%
other: 84.94% (2005)
Irrigated land: 260 km² (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 285.5 km³ (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.99 km³/yr (18%/8%/74%)
per capita: 61 m³/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: Recent limnic eruptions with release of carbon dioxide:
from Lake Monoun, August 15, 1984, killing 37
from Lake Nyos, August 21, 1986, killing as many as 1800
Environment – current issues: water-borne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
Geography – note: sometimes referred to as ‘the hinge of Africa;’ throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
This is a list of the extreme points of Cameroon, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.
Northernmost point – unnamed peninsula jutting into Lake Chad, Far North province
Easternmost point – unnamed location on the border with the Republic of Congo in the Sangha River opposite the Congolese town of Bomassa, East region
Southernmost point – unnamed headland at the confluence on the Sangha River and the Ngoko River immediately north of the Congolese town of Ouesso, East region
Westernmost point – unnamed point on Akwabana Island, Southwest region
Economy and infrastructure
For a quarter-century following independence, Cameroon was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The drop in commodity prices for its principal exports —petroleum, cocoa, coffee, and cotton — in the mid-1980s, combined with an overvalued currency and economic mismanagement, led to a decade-long recession. Real per capita GDP fell by more than 60% from 1986 to 1994. The current account and fiscal deficits widened, and foreign debt grew. Yet because of its oil reserves and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon still has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finance and Banking
Cameroon’s financial system is the largest in the CEMAC region. Access to financial services is limited, particularly for SMEs. Aside from a traditional tendency for banks to prefer dealing with large, established companies, determining factors are also found in interest rates for loans to SMEs being capped at 15 percent and being heavily taxed. As of 2006, bank loans to SMEs hardly reached 15 percent of total outstanding loans.
Less than 5 percent of Cameroonians have access to a bank account. While the microfinance sector is consequently becoming increasingly important, its development is hampered by a loose regulatory and supervisory framework for microfinance institutions (MFIs). The banking sector is highly concentrated and dominated by foreign commercial banks. 6 out of the 11 largest commercial banks are foreign-owned, and the three largest banks hold more than 50 percent of total financial system assets. While foreign banks generally display good solvency ratios, small domestic banks are in a much weaker position. Their capitalization is well below the average of banks in the CEMAC region and their profits are close to 2 percent, compared to 20 percent for foreign banks in the country. This is partially explained by the high levels of non-performing loans, which reached 12 percent in 2007, leading to most banks holding large amounts of excess reserves as a percentage of deposits and large levels of unutilized liquidity.
Demographics of Cameroon
The demographic profile of Cameroon is complex for a country of its population. Cameroon comprises an estimated 250 distinct ethnic groups, which may be formed into five large regional-cultural divisions:
western highlanders (Semi-Bantu or grassfielders), including the Bamileke, Bamum (or Bamoun), and many smaller Tikar groups in the Northwest (est. 38% of total population);
coastal tropical forest peoples, including the Bassa, Duala (or Douala), and many smaller groups in the Southwest (12%);
southern tropical forest peoples, including the Beti-Pahuin, Bulu (a subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Fang (subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Maka, Njem, and Baka pygmies (18%);
predominantly Islamic peoples of the northern semi-arid regions (the Sahel) and central highlands, including the Fulani (French: Peul or Peuhl; Fula: Fulɓe) (14%); and
the “Kirdi”, non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples of the northern desert and central highlands (18%).
An up-to-date demographic profile is unavailable from the country’s government, which hasn’t published census data since 1976.
The Cameroon government held two national censuses during the country’s first 44 years as an independent country, in 1976 and again in 1987. Results from the second head count were never published. A third census, expected to take years to produce results, began on November 11, 2005, with a three-week interviewing phase. It is one of a series of projects and reforms required by the International Monetary Fund as prerequisites for foreign debt relief.
Languages of Cameroon
Cameroon is home to 230 languages. These include 55 Afro-Asiatic languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, 4 Ubangian languages, and 169 Niger–Congo languages. This latter group is divided into one Senegambian language (Fulfulde), 28 Adamawa languages, and 142 Benue–Congo languages (130 of which are Bantu languages).
English and French are official languages, a heritage of Cameroon’s colonial past as both a colony of the United Kingdom and France from 1916 to 1960. The nation strives toward bilingualism, but in reality, very few Cameroonians speak both French and English, and many speak neither. The government has established several bilingual schools in an effort to teach both languages more evenly. Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie.
Most people in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest provinces speak Cameroonian Pidgin English as a lingua franca. Fulfulde serves the same function in the north, and Ewondo in much of the Center, South, and East provinces. Camfranglais (or Frananglais) is a relatively new pidgin communication form emerging in urban areas and other locations where Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians meet and interact. Popular singers have used the hybrid language and added to its popularity.
Education for the deaf in Cameroon uses American Sign Language, introduced by the deaf American missionary Andrew Foster.
There is little literature, radio, or television programming in native Cameroonian languages. Nevertheless, a large number of Cameroonian languages have alphabets or other writing systems, many developed by the Christian missionary group SIL International, who have translated the Bible, Christian hymns, and other materials. The General Alphabet of Cameroon Languages was developed in the late 1970s as an orthographic system for all Cameroonian languages.
Sultan Ibrahim Njoya developed the script for the Bamum language
The Native Languages
Some of the common dialects native to Cameroon include;
Fulfulde, Adamawa variation
Cameroon has a high level of religious freedom and diversity. The predominant faith is Christianity, practiced by about two-thirds of the population, while Islam is a significant minority faith, adhered to by about one-fifth. In addition, traditional faiths are practiced by many. Muslims are most concentrated in the north, while Christians are concentrated primarily in the southern and western regions, but practitioners of both faiths can be found throughout the country. Large cities have significant populations of both groups.
People from the North-West and South-West provinces are largely Protestant, and the French-speaking regions of the southern and western regions are largely Catholic. Southern ethnic groups predominantly follow Christian or traditional African animist beliefs, or a syncretic combination of the two. People widely believe in witchcraft, and the government outlaws such practices. Suspected witches are often subject to mob violence. The Islamist jihadist group Boko Haram has been reported as operating in North Cameroon.
In the northern regions, the locally dominant Fulani ethnic group is mostly Muslim, but the overall population is fairly evenly divided among Muslims, Christians, and followers of indigenous religious beliefs (called Kirdi (“pagan”) by the Fulani). The Bamum ethnic group of the West Region is largely Muslim. Native traditional religions are practiced in rural areas throughout the country but rarely are practiced publicly in cities, in part because many indigenous religious groups are intrinsically local in character.
Culture of Cameroon
Religious holidays in Cameroon include:
Christian: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Pentecost, Ascension Thursday and Palm Sunday
Muslim: Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Ramadan
Major holidays are:
New Year’s Day, January 1
Youth Day, February 11
Labor Day, May 1
National Day, May 20
Assumption, August 15
Women’s Day, March 8
Christmas, December 25
Teacher’s Day, October 5
Since the Cameroon was formerly under French and British rule, the official languages are French and English. There are also numerous endemic living languages spoken by the people that reflects the diversity of the country. These languages include the Akoose language, the Gbaya languages, the Fula language, the Gyele language, the Koonzime language, the Mundang language, the Ngiemboon language, and the Vengo language. The Vernacular languages from the ethnic groups in Cameroon are well over 200. Some of them are Ewondo, Beti, Bamileke, Duala and Arabic in the North and Far-North regions.
Since an amendment was added to the Cameroon Constitution in 1992, Cameroon has been a multi-party state, which means there are multiple parties that have the potential to gain power over the government. Cameroon’s first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, was in power from 1960 to 1982. The president holds executive power for seven years, for a maximum of two terms. The president and his cabinet hold the main power at the national level, while at the local level, the prefet and sous-prefet hold the most power. Getting a government position can happen several different ways: Regional background, ethical background, party loyalty, and who you know. The national and local levels have been known to work together, even though they have to deal with their own separate issues from each other.
Culture and traditions
Cameroon has 250-300 distinct ethnic groups, and an estimated 300+ languages. Cameroon is divided into several provinces, which are dominated by specific ethnic or religious groups. Ethnic divisions often correspond to geography, which is also widely varied. Religious differences often correspond to colonial or other historical influence.
Partly through the influence of colonialism, there is a national culture, and two distinct regional cultures: the Anglophone and Francophone regions, which primarily speak English and French and use different legal systems. The national culture is established through public institutions such as school, the multiparty political system, shared history of colonialism and a national love of soccer.