Cameroon

Cameroon

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Overview

cameroonCameroon has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. However, the country’s progress is hampered by a level of corruption that is among the highest in the world. Cameroon, which is home to more than 200 different linguistic groups, is known as “Africa in miniature” due to its diversity.

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), 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. 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.

The Central African country has one of the highest literacy rates on the continent. Its progress, however, is hampered by persistent problems with corruption. Created in 1961 by the unification of two former colonies, one British and one French, the modern state of Cameroon has also struggled to find peace and unity.

Internally, there are tensions over the two mainly English-speaking southern provinces. A secessionist movement, the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), emerged in the 1990s and has been banned. More recently, the mainly-Muslim far north has been drawn into the regional Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram.

The Situation
  • 1520 – Portuguese set up sugar plantations and begin slave trade in Cameroon, which is taken over by the Dutch in the 1600s.
  • 1884 – Cameroon becomes the German colony of Kamerun. The colony expands in 1911 under the Treaty of Fez, when Neukamerun, territories to the east and south of Kamerun, are ceded to Germany by the French.
  • 1916 – British and French troops force Germans to leave Cameroon. Neukamerun is separated from Cameroon again. Three years later, Cameroon is divided under the London Declaration – 80% to the French and 20% to the British.
  • 1958 – French Cameroon granted self-government with Ahmadou Ahidjo as prime minister. The country becomes independent two years later, and Ahidjo becomes president.
  • 1961 – Following a UN-sponsored referendum, the (British) Southern Cameroons join the Republic of Cameroon to become the Federal Republic of Cameroon, while Northern Cameroon join Nigeria. A large-scale insurrection mars the country’s first years of independence until it is put down in 1963 with the help of French forces.
  • 1982 – Prime Minister Paul Biya succeeds Ahidjo, who resigns, only to flee the country the following year after Biya accuses him of masterminding a coup. Biya is elected as president in 1984, and changes the country’s name to the Republic of Cameroon.
  • 1998 – Cameroon classed as the most corrupt country in the world by business monitor Transparency International.
  • 2006 – Nigeria agrees to withdraw its troops from the Bakassi peninsula to settle its long-running border dispute with Cameroon, which was granted the peninsula in a 2002 International Court ruling.
  • 2015 – Chad pledges military support for Cameroon against Boko Haram. Cameroon faced increased attacks from the jihadist group in 2014, and the government deployed about 1,000 troops to the border with northern Nigeria to counter a rising threat of incursions and kidnappings by the militants.
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Fun Trivia Facts

Republic of Cameroon
Capital: Yaounde

  • Population: 23.5 million 
  • Area: 475,442 sq km (183,568 sq miles)
  • Major languages: French, English, languages of Bantu, Semi-Bantu and Sudanic groups
  • Major religions: Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs
  • Life expectancy: 56 years (men), 59 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
  • Main exports: Crude oil and petroleum products, timber, cocoa, aluminium, coffee, cotton
  • GNI per capita: US $1,210 (World Bank, 2011)
  • Internet domain: .cm
  • International dialling code: +237

Other African Nations.

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