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Background Information

Cameroon -- Basic Indicators

Population 12.8 million
Pop. growth 2.79%p.a.
Land Area 465,400 sq km
Life Expectancy 56.6 yrs
GNP per capita $US 680


The country is divided into three regions: the plains of the Lake Chad basin in the northern region (savannas where cattle are raised and corn and cotton are grown); the central part, made up of humid grasslands; and the southern part, an area with rich volcanic soil where the main cash crops (coffee, bananas, cocoa and palm oil) are grown. It is in the latter that most of the population lives. Drought and desertification are the main concerns in the southern region, which covers 25% of the nations land area, and houses over a quarter of the population.


Peoples: There are some 200 ethnic groups, the main ones being those of Bantu origin: the Dualas, Bamilekes, Tikars and Bamauns in the south; the Euondos and Fulbes in the west, and the Fulanis in the north. In the southeast live the Baka Pygmies, who live by hunting and fishing. Neither their rites, their language nor other cultural features show Bantu influence.

Religions: Half the population practise traditional African cults. Christians are a majority in the south while Muslims predominate in the north.

Languages: French and English are the official languages. There are nearly one hundred African languages and dialects.

Political Parties: Democratic Alliance of the People of Cameroon (RDPC); Movement for the Defence of the Republic; Social Democratic Front (FSD); National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP); Front of Allies for Change (FAC).

Social Organizations: National Workers“ Union of Cameroon.


Official Name: République du Cameroun.
Yaoundé, 650,000 inhab. (1987).
Other cities:
Douala, 810,000 inhab.; Garoua 142,000 inhab. (1987).
Government: Parliamentary republic. Paul Biya, President since 1982.
National Holidays: January 1, Independence Day (1960); October 1, Reunification (1961), May 20, proclamation of the Republic (1972).
Armed Forces:

Source: World Guide 1997-98, courtesy of New Internationalist

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