Cameroon

Cameroon

Overview
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

. It is bordered by Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 to the west; Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 to the northeast; the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

 to the east; and Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

, Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

 to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny
Bight of Bonny
The Bight of Bonny is a bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea...

, part of the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. The country is called "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas.
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Encyclopedia
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

. It is bordered by Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 to the west; Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 to the northeast; the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

 to the east; and Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

, Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

 to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny
Bight of Bonny
The Bight of Bonny is a bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea...

, part of the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. 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
Mount Cameroon
Mount Cameroon is an active volcano in Cameroon near the Gulf of Guinea. Mount Cameroon is also known as Cameroon Mountain or Fako or by its native name Mongo ma Ndemi ....

 in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala
Douala
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Province. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country...

, Yaoundé
Yaoundé
-Transportation:Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods...

, and Garoua
Garoua
Garoua is the capital of the North Province of Cameroon, lying on the Benue River. The city had 235,996 inhabitants at the 2005 Census, and is an important river port.- Overview :...

. Cameroon is home to over 200 different linguistic groups. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa
Makossa
Makossa is a type of music that is most popular in urban areas in Cameroon. It is similar to soukous, except that it includes strong bass rhythm and a prominent horn section. Makossa, which means " dance" in Duala, originated from a type of Duala dance called kossa, with significant influences...

 and bikutsi
Bikutsi
Bikutsi is a musical genre from Cameroon. It developed from the traditional styles of the Beti, or Ewondo, people, who live around the city of Yaounde. It was popular in the middle of the 20th century in West Africa...

, and for its successful national football team
Cameroon national football team
The Cameroon national football team, nicknamed Les Lions Indomptables , is controlled by the Fédération Camerounaise de Football and is Africa's most successful side in FIFA world cup; having qualified for the FIFA World Cup six times – in 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010– more than any...

. French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 are the official languages.

Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation
Sao civilisation
The Sao were an African civilisation that flourished from ca. the 6th century to as late as the 15th century. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that would later be part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in...

 around Lake Chad
Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

 and the Baka
Baka (Cameroon and Gabon)
The Baka, known in the Congo as Bayaka , are an ethnic group inhabiting the southeastern rainforests of Cameroon, northern Republic of Congo, northern Gabon, and southwestern Central African Republic. They are sometimes called a subgroup of the Twa, but the two peoples are not closely related...

 hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões ("River of Prawn
Prawn
Prawns are decapod crustaceans of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. There are 540 extant species, in seven families, and a fossil record extending back to the Devonian...

s"), the name from which Cameroon derives. Fulani
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

 soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate
Adamawa Emirate
The Adamawa Emirate is a traditional state located in Fumbina, what is now the Adamawa State, Nigeria, and previously also in the three northern provinces of Cameroon . It was founded by Modibo Adama, a commander of Sheikh Usman dan Fodio, the man who began the Fulani jihad in 1809...

 in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms
Fon (Cameroon)
A fon is a chieftain or king of a region of Cameroon, especially among the Tikar and Bamiléké peoples of the Bamenda grassfields . Though once independent rulers, most fons were brought under the German rule or military subjugation during the colonial period...

. Cameroon became a German colony
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1884.

After World War I, the territory was divided between France
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 and Britain
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 as League of Nations mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

s. The Union des Populations du Cameroun
Union of the Peoples of Cameroon
The Union of the Peoples of Cameroon is a political party in Cameroon.-History:UPC was founded on April 10, 1948, at a meeting in the bar Chez Sierra in Bassa. 12 men assisted the founding meeting, including Charles Assalé, Léonard Bouli, and Guillaume Bagal. The majority of the participants were...

 political party advocated independence but was outlawed by France in the 1950s. It waged war on French and UPC
Union of the Peoples of Cameroon
The Union of the Peoples of Cameroon is a political party in Cameroon.-History:UPC was founded on April 10, 1948, at a meeting in the bar Chez Sierra in Bassa. 12 men assisted the founding meeting, including Charles Assalé, Léonard Bouli, and Guillaume Bagal. The majority of the participants were...

 militant forces until 1971. In 1960, the French administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo
Ahmadou Ahidjo
Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo was the first President of Cameroon from 1960 until 1982.-Early life:Ahidjo was born in Garoua, a major river port along the Benue River in northern Cameroun, which was at the time a French mandate territory...

. The southern part
Southern Cameroons
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British Mandate territory of Cameroons in West Africa. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province...

 of British Cameroons
Cameroons
British Cameroons was a British Mandate territory in West Africa, now divided between Nigeria and Cameroon.The area of present-day Cameroon was claimed by Germany as a protectorate during the "Scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century...

 merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

 of Cameroon. The country was renamed the United Republic
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

Compared to 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
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 president since 1982, Paul Biya
Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician who has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon's south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime...

, and his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
The Cameroon People's Democratic Movement is the ruling political party in Cameroon.-History:Previously known as the Cameroon National Union, which had dominated Cameroon politics since independence in 1960, it was renamed in 1985...

 party. The English speaking territories
Southern Cameroons
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British Mandate territory of Cameroons in West Africa. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province...

 of Cameroon have grown increasingly alienated from the government, and politicians from those regions have called for greater decentralization and even the secession
Southern Cameroons
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British Mandate territory of Cameroons in West Africa. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province...

 (for example: the Southern Cameroons National Council
Southern Cameroons National Council
The Southern Cameroons National Council is a self determination organisation seeking the independence of the anglophone Southern Cameroons from the francophone Republic of Cameroon . It is a non-violent organisation, and its motto is "The force of argument, not the argument of force." The current...

) of the former British-governed territories.

History



The territory of present day Cameroon was first settled during the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka
Baka (Cameroon and Gabon)
The Baka, known in the Congo as Bayaka , are an ethnic group inhabiting the southeastern rainforests of Cameroon, northern Republic of Congo, northern Gabon, and southwestern Central African Republic. They are sometimes called a subgroup of the Twa, but the two peoples are not closely related...

 (Pygmies). From here, Bantu migrations
Bantu expansion
The Bantu expansion or the Bantu Migration was a millennia-long series of migrations of speakers of the original proto-Bantu language group...

 into eastern, southern, and central Africa are believed to have originated about 2,000 years ago. The Sao
Sao civilisation
The Sao were an African civilisation that flourished from ca. the 6th century to as late as the 15th century. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that would later be part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in...

 culture arose around Lake Chad
Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

 c. AD 500 and gave way to the Kanem
Kanem Empire
The Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad, Nigeria and Libya. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya , eastern Niger and north-eastern Nigeria...

 and its successor state, the Bornu
Bornu Empire
The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...

 empire. Kingdoms, fondoms
Fon (Cameroon)
A fon is a chieftain or king of a region of Cameroon, especially among the Tikar and Bamiléké peoples of the Bamenda grassfields . Though once independent rulers, most fons were brought under the German rule or military subjugation during the colonial period...

, and chiefdoms arose in the west.

Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472. They noted an abundance of the mud lobster Lepidophthalmus turneranus
Lepidophthalmus turneranus
Lepidophthalmus turneranus , the Cameroon ghost shrimp, is a species of "ghost shrimp" or "mud lobster" that lives off the coast of West Africa...

in the Wouri River
Wouri River
The Wouri is a river in Cameroon. The river is formed at the confluence of the rivers Nkam and Makombé, northeast of the city of Yabassi. The Wouri then flows about southeast to the Wouri estuary at Douala, the chief port and industrial city in the southwestern part of Cameroon on the Gulf of...

 and named it , Portuguese for "River of Shrimp", and the phrase from which Cameroon is derived. Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, and Christian missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 pushed inland. In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama
Modibo Adama
Adama bi Ardo Hassana , more commonly known as Modibo Adama, was a Fulani scholar and holy warrior. He led a jihad into the region of Fumbina , opening the region for Fulani colonisation...

 led Fulani
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

 soldiers on a jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 in the north against non-Muslim and partially Muslim peoples and established the Adamawa Emirate
Adamawa Emirate
The Adamawa Emirate is a traditional state located in Fumbina, what is now the Adamawa State, Nigeria, and previously also in the three northern provinces of Cameroon . It was founded by Modibo Adama, a commander of Sheikh Usman dan Fodio, the man who began the Fulani jihad in 1809...

. Settled peoples who fled the Fulani caused a major redistribution of population. The northern part of Cameroon was an important part of the Muslim slave trade network.

When the Germans first arrived in Cameroon, they found that the Bamum people had been using indigenous writing systems. These writing systems include the Bamum script
Bamum script
The Bamum scripts are an evolutionary series of six scripts created for the Bamum language by King Njoya of Cameroon at the turn of the 20th century...

 and Shomum script which are still widely used in Cameroon. These scripts are collectively taught throughout Cameroon via the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project
Bamum Scripts and Archives Project
Bamum Scripts and Archives Project at the Bamum Palace is engaged in a variety of initiatives concerning the Bamum script, including collecting and photographing threatened documents, translating and in some cases hand-copying documents, creating a fully usable Bamum computer font for the inventory...

 and are widely known to have been popularized or reinvented by the Sultan Ibrahim Njoya
Ibrahim Njoya
King Ibrahim Njoya , distinguished ruler, intellectual, and inventor, was 17th in a long dynasty of kings that ruled over Bamum and its people in western Cameroon dating back to the 14th century. He succeeded his father Nsangu and ruled from 1886/7 until his death in 1933...

 in the 20th century. The German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun
Kamerun
German Cameroon was a West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon.-History:-1800s:...

 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
Unfree labour
Unfree labour includes all forms of slavery as well as all other related institutions .-Payment for unfree labour:If payment occurs, it may be in one or more of the following forms:...

. With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 territory and was split into French
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

  and British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 Cameroons
Cameroons
British Cameroons was a British Mandate territory in West Africa, now divided between Nigeria and Cameroon.The area of present-day Cameroon was claimed by Germany as a protectorate during the "Scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century...

 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
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

. 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
United Nations Trusteeship Council
The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security...

 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
Union of the Peoples of Cameroon
The Union of the Peoples of Cameroon is a political party in Cameroon.-History:UPC was founded on April 10, 1948, at a meeting in the bar Chez Sierra in Bassa. 12 men assisted the founding meeting, including Charles Assalé, Léonard Bouli, and Guillaume Bagal. The majority of the participants were...

 (UPC), on 13 July 1955. This prompted a long guerrilla war and the assassination of the party's leader, Ruben Um Nyobé
Ruben Um Nyobé
Ruben Um Nyobé was an anti-imperialist Cameroonian leader, slain by the French army on 13 September 1958, near his natal village of Boumnyebel, in the department of Nyong-et-Kellé in the maquis Bassa. He created on 10 April 1948 the Cameroon's People Union , which used armed struggle to obtain...

, near Boumnyebel, the village where he was born. 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
Ahmadou Ahidjo
Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo was the first President of Cameroon from 1960 until 1982.-Early life:Ahidjo was born in Garoua, a major river port along the Benue River in northern Cameroun, which was at the time a French mandate territory...

. On 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons
Southern Cameroons
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British Mandate territory of Cameroons in West Africa. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province...

 united with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahidjo used the ongoing war with the UPC
Union of the Peoples of Cameroon
The Union of the Peoples of Cameroon is a political party in Cameroon.-History:UPC was founded on April 10, 1948, at a meeting in the bar Chez Sierra in Bassa. 12 men assisted the founding meeting, including Charles Assalé, Léonard Bouli, and Guillaume Bagal. The majority of the participants were...

 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
Cameroon National Union
The Cameroon National Union was Cameroon's sole legal political party until 1990...

 (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and in 1972, the federal system of government
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé
Yaoundé
-Transportation:Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods...

. Ahidjo pursued an economic policy of planned liberalism
Planned liberalism
Planned liberalism is an economic policy followed in Cameroon since the 1960s that aims to merge the best concepts of capitalism and socialism....

, 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
Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician who has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon's south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime...

. 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
Cameroonian Palace Guard Revolt
An attempted coup d'état occurred in Cameroon in 1984; presidential palace guards unsuccessfully tried to overthrow President Paul Biya, resulting in fighting that began on April 6, 1984 and ended several days later...

 nudged him toward the leadership style of his predecessor.

An economic crisis
Economic crisis of Cameroon
The Cameroonian economic crisis was a downturn in the economy of Cameroon from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. The crisis resulted in rising prices in Cameroon, trade deficits, and loss of government revenue. The government of Cameroon acknowledged the crisis in 1987. Outside observers and...

 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
Cronyism
Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Hence, cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy....

. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatised
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, the former British Cameroons pressure groups called for greater autonomy, with some (SCNC
Southern Cameroons National Council
The Southern Cameroons National Council is a self determination organisation seeking the independence of the anglophone Southern Cameroons from the francophone Republic of Cameroon . It is a non-violent organisation, and its motto is "The force of argument, not the argument of force." The current...

) advocating complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia
Ambazonia
The name Ambazonia or Ambazania refers to two separate entities. One pertains to an advocacy group struggling for the total restoration of the statehood of the Crown Colony formerly known as the British Southern Cameroons...

. In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests
2008 Cameroonian anti-government protests
The 2008 Cameroon protests were a series of violent demonstrations in Cameroon's biggest cities that took place from 25 February to 29 February 2008. The protests followed on the heels of a strike by transport workers, who were opposing high fuel prices and poor working conditions...

 in 31 municipal areas.

Politics and government




The President of Cameroon
Heads of state of Cameroon
-Presidents of Cameroon :-Affiliations:-Latest election:-See also:*Politics of Cameroon*Heads of government of Cameroon*Colonial heads of Cameroon...

 has broad, unilateral powers to create policy, administer government agencies, command the armed forces
Military of Cameroon
The Cameroonian Armed Forces generally has been an apolitical force where civilian control of the military predominates. Traditional dependence on the French defense capability, although reduced, continues to be the case as French military advisers remain closely involved in preparing the...

, negotiate and ratify treaties, and declare a state of emergency. The president appoints government officials at all levels, from the prime minister
Prime Minister of Cameroon
Under the current constitution of Cameroon, the Prime Minister of Cameroon is a relatively powerless executive. While the Prime Minister is officially appointed to be the head of government, the President retains most of the executive power and can fire the Prime Minister at will.-History:The...

 (considered the official head of government), to the provincial governors, divisional officers, and urban-council members in large cities. The president is selected by popular vote every seven years. In smaller municipalities, the public elects mayors and councilors.

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 2007, Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

 placed Cameroon at number 138 on a list of 163 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
National Anti-Corruption Observatory
The National Anti-Corruption Observatory is a government body in Cameroon that investigates political corruption, organises anti-corruption initiatives, and monitors the government's anti-corruption efforts. The observatory is made up of 15 members and is part of the office of the prime minister...

.

Cameroon's legal system is largely based on French civil law
Law of France
In academic terms, French law can be divided into two main categories: private or judicial law and public law .Judicial law includes, in particular:*civil law ; and*criminal law ....

 with common law influences. Although nominally independent, the judiciary falls under the authority of the executive's Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice of Cameroon
The Ministry of Justice of Cameroon is the Department responsible for administering the Cameroon justice system. As at May 2004, the Minister of State for Justice was Amadou Ali. The legal system in the Cameroon is complex with a constitution developed in 1972 and revised in 1996 as well as...

. The president appoints judges at all levels. The judiciary is officially divided into tribunals, the court of appeal
Court of Appeal of Cameroon
The Courts of Appeal are appellate courts in Cameroon. They are defined in Part V of the constitution of Cameroon as being under the Supreme Court.-References:...

, and the supreme court
Supreme Court of Cameroon
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in Cameroon. As defined in Article V of the Constitution of Cameroon, the Supreme Court is above the courts of appeal and the tribunals. It is nominally independent of the executive and legislative branches of government, subject only to the oversight...

. The National Assembly elects the members of a nine-member High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice (Cameroon)
The High Court of Justice is a political court in Cameroon. The court judges high-ranking members of the government of Cameroon, including the president, prime minister, ministers, and vice ministers, in the event that they are charged with high treason or conspiracy against national security...

 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
National Assembly of Cameroon
The National Assembly is the parliament of Cameroon. It has 180 members, elected for five-year terms in 49 single and multi-seat constituencies....

 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
Lamido
Lamido is the Anglicisation of a term from the Fula language or Fulfulde, used to refer to a ruler. In the language it is properly laamiiɗo , derived from the verbal root "laam-" meaning "to rule or to lead", and hence may be translated more specifically as "leader"...

 to govern at the local level and to resolve disputes as long as such rulings do not conflict with national law.

President Paul Biya
Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician who has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon's south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime...

's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
The Cameroon People's Democratic Movement is the ruling political party in Cameroon.-History:Previously known as the Cameroon National Union, which had dominated Cameroon politics since independence in 1960, it was renamed in 1985...

 (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
John Fru Ndi
Ni John Fru Ndi is the founder and leader of Cameroon's Social Democratic Front .Fru Ndi was born in Baba II, near Bamenda in the Northwest Province of Cameroon. The title of Ni, a marker of respect, was given to him when he was born...

. Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, but rivals contend that these have been 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
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 ranks Cameroon as "not free" in terms of political rights and civil liberties. The last parliamentary elections
Cameroonian parliamentary election, 2007
A parliamentary election was held in Cameroon on 22 July 2007, with some polls held again on 30 September 2007. 1,274 candidates stood for the 180 seats in the National Assembly, with 41 parties participating...

 were held on 22 July 2007.

Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and La Francophonie. Its foreign policy
Foreign relations of Cameroon
Cameroon's noncontentious, low-profile approach to foreign relations puts it squarely in the middle of other African and developing country states on major issues. It supports the principles of noninterference in the affairs of third world countries and increased assistance to underdeveloped...

 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
Bakassi
Bakassi is the peninsular extension of the African territory of Calabar into the Atlantic Ocean. It is currently ruled by Cameroon following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice...

 peninsula and with Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

's president, El Hadj Omar Bongo
Omar Bongo
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba , born as Albert-Bernard Bongo, was a Gabonese politician who was President of Gabon for 42 years from 1967 until his death in office in 2009....

, over personal rivalries.

Education




In 2001, the literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 rate of Cameroon was estimated to be 67.9% (77% for males and 59.8% for females). Most children have access to free, state-run schools or subsidised, private and religious facilities. The educational system
Education in Cameroon
Education in Cameroon is among the best in Africa.-Primary and secondary school:Education is compulsory through the age of 14 years. Primary school education has been free since 2000; however, families must pay for uniforms and book fees. Tuition and fees at the secondary school level remain...

 is a mixture of British and French precedents with most instruction in English or French. Cameroon has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa. Girls attend school less regularly than boys do because of cultural attitudes, domestic duties, early marriage and pregnancy, and sexual harassment. Although attendance rates are higher in the south, a disproportionate number of teachers are stationed there, leaving northern schools chronically understaffed.

The quality of health care is generally low. Outside the major cities, facilities are often dirty and poorly equipped. Endemic diseases include dengue fever
Dengue fever
Dengue fever , also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles...

, filariasis
Filariasis
Filariasis is a parasitic disease and is considered an infectious tropical disease, that is caused by thread-like nematodes belonging to the superfamily Filarioidea, also known as "filariae"....

, leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites that belong to the genus Leishmania and is transmitted by the bite of certain species of sand fly...

, malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, meningitis
Meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs...

, schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by several species of trematodes , a parasitic worm of the genus Schistosoma. Snails often act as an intermediary agent for the infectious diseases until a new human host is found...

, and sleeping sickness. The HIV/AIDS seroprevalence rate is estimated at 5.4% for those aged 15–49, although a strong stigma against the illness keeps the number of reported cases artificially low. Traditional healers
Traditional medicine
Traditional medicine comprises unscientific knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine...

 remain a popular alternative to Western medicine.

Regions




The constitution
Constitution of Cameroon
The Constitution of Cameroon is the supreme law of the Republic of Cameroon. The document consists of a preamble and 13 Parts, each divided into Articles...

 divides Cameroon into 10 semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected Regional Council
Regional Council (Cameroon)
Regional Councils are, nominally, the governing bodies of the regions of Cameroon. As defined by the Constitution of Cameroon, the councils have control of cultural, economic, educational, health-related, social, and sport-related issues in the regions. The members of each council are delegates...

. 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
Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

, 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 ). These are headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers , who perform the governors' duties on a smaller scale. The divisions are further sub-divided into sub-divisions , headed by assistant divisional officers . The districts, administered by district heads , are the smallest administrative units. These are found in large sub-divisions and in regions that are difficult to reach.

The three northernmost regions are the Far North , North , and Adamawa . Directly south of them are the Centre  and East . The South Province  lies on the Gulf of Guinea and the southern border. Cameroon's western region is split into four smaller regions: The Littoral  and Southwest  regions are on the coast, and the Northwest  and West  regions are in the western grassfields. The Northwest and Southwest were once part of British Cameroons; the other regions were in French Cameroun.

Geography




At 475442 square kilometres (183,569.2 sq mi), Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country. It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California. The country is located in Central
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

 and West Africa on the Bight of Bonny
Bight of Bonny
The Bight of Bonny is a bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea...

, part of the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 and the Atlantic Ocean. Cameroon lies between latitudes
1st parallel north
The 1st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 1 degree north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

 and 13°N
13th parallel north
The 13th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 13 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes
8th meridian east
The meridian 8° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 17°E
17th meridian east
The meridian 17° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Tourist literature describes Cameroon as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna. The country's neighbours are Nigeria to the west; Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 to the northeast; the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

 to the east; and Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

 to the south.

Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. The coastal plain extends 15 to 150 km (9.3 to 93.2 mi) inland from the Gulf of Guinea and has an average elevation of 90 metres (295 ft). Exceedingly hot and humid with a short dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

, this belt is densely forested and includes some of the wettest places
Debundscha
Debundscha is a village in the Southwestern Region, of the republic of Cameroon. It is found at the foot of the Mount Cameroon,at its south western slope, directly facing the south Atlantic ocean on the Cameroon coast....

 on earth, part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests
Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests
The Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of west-central Africa. This is lush forest rich in flora and birdlife.-Location and description:...

.

The South Cameroon Plateau
South Cameroon Plateau
The South Cameroon Plateau or Southern Cameroon Plateau is the dominant geographical feature of Cameroon. The plateau lies south of the Adamawa Plateau and southeast of the Cameroon Range. It slopes south and west until giving way to the Cameroon coastal plain in the southwest and the Congo River...

 rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 metres (2,133 ft). Equatorial rainforest dominates this region, although its alternation between wet
Wet season
The the wet season, or rainy season, is the time of year, covering one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region occurs. The term green season is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tourist authorities. Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the...

 and dry seasons makes it is less humid than the coast. This area is part of the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests
Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests
The Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of central Africa, covering hills, plains, and mountains of the Atlantic coast of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.This is rich forest home...

 ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

.


An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range
Cameroon line
The Cameroon line is a chain of volcanoes.It includes islands in the Gulf of Guinea and mountains that extend along the border region of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, from Mount Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea north and east towards Lake Chad....

 extends from Mount Cameroon
Mount Cameroon
Mount Cameroon is an active volcano in Cameroon near the Gulf of Guinea. Mount Cameroon is also known as Cameroon Mountain or Fako or by its native name Mongo ma Ndemi ....

 on the coast—Cameroon's highest point at 4095 metres (13,435 ft)—almost to Lake Chad
Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

 at Cameroon's northern border at 13°05'N. This region has a mild climate, particularly on the Western High Plateau
Western High Plateau
The Western High Plateau, Western Highlands, or Bamenda Grassfields is a region of Cameroon characterised by high relief, cool temperatures, heavy rainfall, and savanna vegetation. The region lies along the Cameroon line and consists of mountain ranges and volcanoes made of crystalline and igneous...

, although rainfall is high. Its soils are among Cameroon's most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon. Volcanism here has created crater lake
Crater lake
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera, such as a maar; less commonly and with lower association to the term a lake may form in an impact crater caused by a meteorite. Sometimes lakes which form inside calderas are called caldera lakes, but often this distinction is not...

s. On 21 August 1986, one of these, Lake Nyos
Lake Nyos
Lake Nyos is a crater lake in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, located about northwest of Yaoundé. Nyos is a deep lake high on the flank of an inactive volcano in the Oku volcanic plain along the Cameroon line of volcanic activity...

, belched carbon dioxide and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people. This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests
Cameroonian Highlands forests
The Cameroonian Highlands forests are a montane tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion located on the range of mountains that runs inland from the Gulf of Guinea and forms the border between Cameroon and Nigeria...

 ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

.

The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau
Adamawa Plateau
The Adamawa Plateau is a plateau region in west-central Africa stretching from south-eastern Nigeria through north-central Cameroon to the Central African Republic. The plateau was named after Fulani Muslim leader Modibo Adama. The part of the plateau that lies in Nigeria is more popularly known...

. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. Its average elevation is 1100 metres (3,609 ft), and its average temperature ranges from 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F) with high rainfall between April and October peaking in July and August. The northern lowland region
East Sudanian savanna
The East Sudanian Savanna is a hot, dry, tropical savanna ecoregion of central Africa.-Location and description:This is the eastern half of the broad savanna belt which runs east and west across Africa, this section lying east of the Cameroon Highlands...

 extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300 to 350 m (984.3 to 1,148.3 ft). Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.

Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem
Ntem River
The Ntem River is a border river in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It rises in Gabon, but flows into the Atlantic Ocean in Cameroon. A tributary continues along the border towards the east.- Towns :* Campo* Minvoul, Gabon...

, Nyong
Nyong River
The Nyong is a river in Cameroon. The river flows approximately 640 km to empty into the Gulf of Guinea.-Transport:The town of Mbalmayo, which has a railhead, lies on the north bank of this river. The towns of Akonolinga and Abong-Mbang also lie on it....

, Sanaga
Sanaga River
The Sanaga River is a river of South Province, Cameroon, Centre Province, Cameroon, and West Province, Cameroon. Its length is 890 kilometers.The Sanaga River forms a boundary between two tropical moist forest ecoregions...

, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja
Dja River
The Dja River is a stream in west-central Africa. It forms part of Cameroon–Republic of Congo border and has a course of roughly 450 miles ....

 and Kadéï
Kadéï River
The Kadéï River is a tributary of the Sangha River that flows through Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Its total drainage basin is 24,000 km². The river rises from the eastern Adamawa Plateau, southeast of Garoua-Boulaï |East Province]]. The Kadéï is swelled by two tributaries, the...

 drain southeastward into the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

. In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River
Benue River
The Benue River is the major tributary of the Niger River. The river is approximately 1,400 km long and is almost entirely navigable during the summer months...

 runs north and west and empties into the Niger
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

. The Logone
Logon River
The Logon or Logone River is a major tributary of the Chari River. The Logone's sources are located in the western Central African Republic, northern Cameroon, and southern Chad. It has two major tributaries. The Pendé River in the prefecture Ouham-Pendé in the Central African Republic and the...

 flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries.

Economy and infrastructure




Cameroon's per-capita GDP (Purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

) was estimated as US$2,300 in 2008, one of the ten highest in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

. Major export markets include France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Cameroon has enjoyed a decade of strong economic performance, with GDP growing at an average of 4 percent per year. During the 2004–2008 period, public debt was reduced from over 60 percent of GDP to 10 percent and official reserves quadrupled to over USD 3 billion. Cameroon is part of the Bank of Central African States
Bank of Central African States
The Bank of Central African States is a central bank that serves six central African countries which form the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa:*Cameroon*Central African Republic*Chad*Equatorial Guinea*Gabon*Republic of the Congo...

 (of which it is the dominant economy), the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

Its currency is the CFA franc
CFA franc
The CFA franc is the name of two currencies used in Africa which are guaranteed by the French treasury. The two CFA franc currencies are the West African CFA franc and the Central African CFA franc...

. Red tape, high taxes, and endemic corruption have impeded growth of the private sector.
Unemployment was estimated at 30% in 2001, and about a third of the population was living below the international poverty threshold
Poverty threshold
The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country...

 of US$1.25 a day in 2009. Since the late 1980s, Cameroon has been following programmes advocated by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) to reduce poverty, privatise industries, and increase economic growth. Tourism
Tourism in Cameroon
Tourism in Cameroon is a growing but relatively minor industry. Since the 1970s, the government of Cameroon has cultivated the industry by creating a ministry of tourism and by encouraging investment by airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. The government describes the country as "Africa in...

 is a growing sector, particularly in the coastal area, around Mount Cameroon, and in the north.

Cameroon's natural resources are very well suited to agriculture and arboriculture. An estimated 70% of the population farms, and agriculture comprised an estimated 19.8% of GDP in 2009. Most agriculture is done at the subsistence scale by local farmers using simple tools. They sell their surplus produce, and some maintain separate fields for commercial use. Urban centres are particularly reliant on peasant agriculture for their foodstuffs. Soils and climate on the coast encourage extensive commercial cultivation of bananas, cocoa, oil palms, rubber, and tea. Inland on the South Cameroon Plateau, cash crops include coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Coffee is a major cash crop in the western highlands, and in the north, natural conditions favour crops such as cotton, groundnuts, and rice. Reliance on agricultural exports makes Cameroon vulnerable to shifts in their prices.


Livestock are raised throughout the country. Fishing employs some 5,000 people and provides 20,000 tons of seafood each year. Bushmeat
Bushmeat
Bushmeat initially referred to the hunting of wild animals in West and Central Africa and is a calque from the French viande de brousse. Today the term is commonly used for meat of terrestrial wild animals, killed for subsistence or commercial purposes throughout the humid tropics of the Americas,...

, long a staple food for rural Cameroonians, is today a delicacy in the country's urban centres. The commercial bushmeat trade has now surpassed deforestation as the main threat to wildlife in Cameroon.

The southern rainforest has vast timber reserves, estimated to cover 37% of Cameroon's total land area. However, large areas of the forest are difficult to reach. Logging, largely handled by foreign-owned firms, provides the government US$60 million a year, and laws mandate the safe and sustainable exploitation of timber. Nevertheless, in practice, the industry is one of the least regulated in Cameroon.

Factory-based industry accounted for an estimated 29.7% of GDP in 2009. More than 75% of Cameroon's industrial strength is located in Douala
Douala
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Province. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country...

 and Bonabéri
Bonabéri
Bonabéri is a port in the Littoral Province of Cameroon. It is located on the western side of the harbour across the Wouri River from the larger port of Douala.- External links :* *...

. Cameroon possesses substantial mineral resources, but these are not extensively mined
Mining in Cameroon
-Cameroon Overview:Cameroon has a total area of approximately 475 thousand square kilometers, a coastline of some 400 kilometers, and a population approaching 19 million people.- Mining History :As of April 2008, Cameroon has no industrial mining history...

. Petroleum exploitation has fallen since 1985, but this is still a substantial sector such that dips in prices have a strong effect on the economy. Rapids and waterfalls obstruct the southern rivers, but these sites offer opportunities for hydroelectric development and supply most of Cameroon's energy. The Sanaga River powers the largest hydroelectric station, located at Edéa. The rest of Cameroon's energy comes from oil-powered thermal engines. Much of the country remains without reliable power supplies.

Transport in Cameroon
Transport in Cameroon
- Railways :Railways in Cameroon are operated by Camrail, a subsidiary of French investment group Bolloré. As of 2008, the country had an estimated 987 km of gauge track....

 is often difficult. Except for the several relatively good toll road
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

s which connect major cities (all of them one-lane) roads are poorly maintained and subject to inclement weather, since only 10% of the roadways are tarred. Roadblocks often serve little other purpose than to allow police and gendarmes to collect bribes from travellers. Road banditry has long hampered transport along the eastern and western borders, and since 2005, the problem has intensified in the east as the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

 has further destabilised.

Intercity bus services run by multiple private companies connect all major cities. Although intercity buses rarely depart on schedule but rather wait until all the tickets are sold. They are the most popular mean of transportation followed by the rail service Camrail
Camrail
Camrail is a company that has been granted a 20 year concession to operate the Cameroon National Railway. This Cameroonian company is a subsidiary of French investment group Bolloré. The railway has been operated by Comazar, a subsidiary of Bolloré, since 1999...

. Rail service runs from Kumba
Kumba
Kumba is a city in Southwest Province, western Cameroon also known around Cameroon as K town. It had a population of 144,268 . The N8 and N16 highways meet at Kumba.- History :...

 in the west to Bélabo
Bélabo
Bélabo is a town and commune in Cameroon, lying on the Yaoundé – N'Gaoundéré railway line. Near the town lies the Sanaga-Yong chimpanzee rescue centre.- References :...

 in the east and north to Ngaoundéré
Ngaoundéré
Ngaoundéré or N'Gaoundéré is the capital of the Adamawa Region of Cameroon. It had a population of 152,698 . It lies at the northern end of the railway to Yaoundé and is also home to an airport. The current city was founded in approximately 1835 by the Fulani leader Ardo Njobdi, although the...

.

International airports are located in Douala
Douala
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Province. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country...

 and Yaoundé
Yaoundé
-Transportation:Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods...

. The airport at Bamenda
Bamenda
Bamenda, also known as Abakwa and Mankon Town, is a city in northwestern Cameroon and capital of the North West Province. The city had a population of 269,530 at the 2005 Census, and is located 366 km north-west of the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé...

 is now closed. The Wouri estuary
Wouri estuary
The Wouri estuary, or Cameroon estuary is a large tidal estuary in Cameroon where several rivers come together, emptying into the Bight of Biafra. Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, is at the mouth of the Wouri River where it enters the estuary...

 provides a harbour for Douala, the country's principal seaport. In the north, the Bénoué River is seasonally navigable from Garoua across into Nigeria.

Although press freedoms have improved since the first decade of the 21st century, the press is corrupt and beholden to special interests and political groups. Newspapers routinely self-censor to avoid government reprisals. The major radio and television stations are state-run and other communications
Communications in Cameroon
Telephones - main lines in use:130,700 Telephones - mobile cellular:4.536 million Telephone system:general assessment:...

, such as land-based telephones and telegraphs, are largely under government control. However, cell phone networks and Internet providers have increased dramatically since the first decade of the 21st century and are largely unregulated.

Demographics


Population in Cameroon
Year Million
1971 7,0
1990 12,2
2009 19,5
Source: OECD/World Bank


2009 UN estimates place Cameroon's population at 19,522,000. The population is young: an estimated 40.9% are under 15, and 96.7% are under 65. The birth rate is estimated at 34.1 births per 1,000 people, the death rate at 12.2. The life expectancy is 53.69 years (52.89 years for males and 54.52 years for females).

Cameroon's population is almost evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers. Population density is highest in the large urban centres, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain. Douala
Douala
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Province. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country...

, Yaoundé
Yaoundé
-Transportation:Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods...

, and Garoua
Garoua
Garoua is the capital of the North Province of Cameroon, lying on the Benue River. The city had 235,996 inhabitants at the 2005 Census, and is an important river port.- Overview :...

 are the largest cities. In contrast, the Adamawa Plateau, southeastern Bénoué depression, and most of the South Cameroon Plateau are sparsely populated.

People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment. Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east. Although the national sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males, which leads to unbalanced ratios in some regions.

Both monogamous
Monogamy
Monogamy /Gr. μονός+γάμος - one+marriage/ a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse at any one time. In current usage monogamy often refers to having one sexual partner irrespective of marriage or reproduction...

 and polygamous
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

 marriage are practiced, and the average Cameroonian family is large and extended. In the north, women tend to the home, and men herd cattle or work as farmers. In the south, women grow the family's food, and men provide meat and grow cash crops. Cameroonian society is male-dominated, and violence and discrimination against women is common.

Estimates identify anywhere from 230 to 282 different folks and linguistic groups in Cameroon. The Adamawa Plateau broadly bisects these into northern and southern divisions. The northern peoples are Sudanese groups, who live in the central highlands and the northern lowlands, and the Fulani, who are spread throughout northern Cameroon. A small number of Shuwa
Baggara
The Baggāra Arabs are a set of communities inhabiting the portion of Africa's Sahel between Lake Chad and southern Kordofan, numbering over one million. They have a common language which is one of the regional colloquial Arabic languages...

 Arabs live near Lake Chad. Southern Cameroon is inhabited by speakers of Bantu
Bantu languages
The Bantu languages constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages...

 and Semi-Bantu languages. Bantu-speaking groups inhabit the coastal and equatorial zones, while speakers of Semi-Bantu languages live in the Western grassfields. Some 5,000 Pygmies roam the southeastern and coastal rainforests or live in small, roadside settlements. Nigerians, make up the largest group of foreign nationals.

In 2007, Cameroon hosted a total population of refugees and asylum seekers of approximately 97,400. Of these, 49,300 were from the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

 (many driven west by war), 41,600 from Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, and 2,900 from Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

. Kidnappings of Cameroonian citizens by Central African bandits have increased since 2005.

The European languages introduced during colonialism have created a linguistic divide between the population who live in the Northwest and Southwest regions and the French-speaking remainder of the country. Both English and French are official languages, although French is by far the most understood language (80+ %). German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, the language of the original colonisers, has long since been displaced by French and English. Cameroonian Pidgin English
Cameroonian Pidgin English
Cameroonian Pidgin English, or Cameroonian Creole, is a language variety of Cameroon. It is also known as Kamtok . Five varieties are currently recognised:...

 is the lingua franca in the formerly British-administered territories. A mixture of English, French, and Pidgin called Camfranglais
Camfranglais
Camfranglais, Frananglais, or Franglais is a language from Cameroon, consisting of a mixture of French, English , the creole language Cameroonian Pidgin English and several words borrowed from many dialects spoken in Cameroon...

 has been gaining popularity in urban centres since the mid-1970s.

Religion


Cameroon has a high level of religious freedom
Religion in Cameroon
Christianity and Islam are the two main religions in Cameroon. Christian churches and Muslim centres of various denominations operate freely throughout Cameroon. Approximately 70 percent of the population is at least nominally Christian, 21 percent is nominally Muslim and 6 percent practise...

 and diversity. Christians and Muslims are found in every region, although Christians are concentrated primarily in the southern and western regions. Large cities have significant populations of both groups. There is significant internal migration. There are currently no active religious political parties.

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
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 beliefs, or a syncretic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 combination of the two. People widely believe in witchcraft, and the government outlaws such practices. Suspected witches are often subject to mob violence.

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
Kirdi
The Kirdi are is a term that describes some many cultures and ethnic groups who inhabit northwestern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria.The term was applied to various peoples who had not converted to Islam at the time of colonization and was a pejorative, although some writers have reappropriated it...

("pagan") by the Fulani). The Bamum
Bamum people
The Bamum, sometimes called Bamoum, Bamun, Bamoun, or Mum, are an ethnic group of Cameroon with around 215,000 members.-Religion:...

 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


Holidays
Date English Name
1 January New Year's Day
11 February National Youth Day
1 May Labour Day
20 May National Day
National Day (Cameroon)
National Day is a holiday in Cameroon celebarated on 20 May. Cameroon has no single date of independence. The United Nations Trust Territory known as French Cameroun achieved independence from France on 1 January 1960, and British Southern Cameroons changed status from a Trusteeship under British...

15 August Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

1 October Unification Day
Unification Day (Cameroon)
Unification Day is a holiday in Cameroon that is celebrated on 1 October, marking the anniversary of British Southern Cameroons' independence from the United Kingdom and unification with French Cameroun in 1961. This is not to be confused with the anniversary of French Cameroun's independence from...

25 December Christmas

Each of Cameroon's ethnic groups has its own unique cultural forms. Typical celebrations include births, deaths, plantings, harvests, and religious rituals. Seven national holidays
Public holidays in Cameroon
-Movable holidays:The following holidays are public holidays but the date on which each occurs varies, according to its corresponding calendar, and thus has no set date. In order in which they occur:...

 are observed throughout the year, and movable holidays include the Christian holy days of Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday
Easter Monday
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox cultures...

, and Ascension; and the Muslim holy days of Eid-ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Eid-ul-Adha, and Eid Miladun Nabi
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

.

One Cameroon language has become the object of international attention though the efforts of an interactive language learning website. The language is called Busuu language
Busuu language
Busuu is an unclassified Southern Bantoid language of Cameroon. R Breton noted in 1986 that there were just 8 speakers left, while as of 2005 there are 3 living speakers of the language.- External links :***...

 and is an unclassified Southern Bantoid language of Cameroon with just eight speakers left.

Music
Music of Cameroon
The best-known Music of the Cameroon is makossa, a popular style that has gained fans across Africa, and its related dance craze bikutsi.The pirogue sailors of Douala are known for a kind of singing called ngoso, which has evolved into a kind of modern music accompanied by zanza, balafon and...

 and dance
Dance in Cameroon
Dance in Cameroon is an integral part of the tradition, religion, and socialising of the country's people. Cameroon has more than 200 traditional dances, each associated with a different event or situation. Colonial authorities and Christian missionaries discouraged native dances as threats to...

 are an integral part of Cameroonian ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings, and storytelling. Traditional dances are highly choreographed and separate men and women or forbid participation by one sex altogether. The goals of dances range from pure entertainment to religious devotion. Traditionally, music is transmitted orally. In a typical performance, a chorus of singers echoes a soloist.

Musical accompaniment may be as simple as clapping hands and stomping feet, but traditional instruments include bells worn by dancers, clappers, drums and talking drums, flutes, horns, rattles, scrapers, stringed instruments, whistles, and xylophones; the exact combination varies with ethnic group and region. Some performers sing complete songs by themselves, accompanied by a harplike instrument.

Popular music styles include ambasse bey
Ambasse bey
Ambasse bey or ambas-i-bay is a style of folk music and dance from Cameroon. The music is based on commonly available instruments, especially guitar, with percussion provided by sticks and bottles...

 of the coast, assiko
Assiko
The Assiko is a popular dance from the South of Cameroon.Originally based in the Bassa country, this rhythmed dance takes its name from two words: ISI, changed into ASSI, which means earth or ground; and KOO meaning foot....

 of the Bassa, mangambeu
Mangambeu
Mangambeu is a popular musical style of the Bangangte people of Cameroon. It was popularised by Pierre Diddy Tchakounte.-References:* DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey : Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon . Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press....

 of the Bangangte
Bamileke
The Bamileke is a folk whose native ancestral area is in the western highlands of Cameroon's West Province, west of the Noun River and southeast of the Bamboutos Mountains and in the Moungo region of the Littoral, Southwest, and Centre Provinces. They are a part of the Semi-Bantu ethnic groups...

, and tsamassi
Tsamassi
Tsamassi is a popular musical style of the Bamileke of Cameroon. It was popularised by André-Marie Tala.-References:* DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey : Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon . Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press....

 of the Bamileke. Nigerian music
Music of Nigeria
The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of Folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs...

 has influenced Anglophone Cameroonian performers, and Prince Nico Mbarga
Prince Nico Mbarga
Prince Nico Mbarga was a highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki, Nigeria...

's highlife
Highlife
Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana in the 1900s and spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and other West African countries by 1920...

 hit "Sweet Mother
Sweet Mother
"Sweet Mother" is a highlife song by the Nigeria/Cameroonian singer Prince Nico Mbarga and his band Rocafil Jazz. Released in 1976, it remains one of the most popular songs in Africa....

" is the top-selling African record in history. The two most popular styles are makossa
Makossa
Makossa is a type of music that is most popular in urban areas in Cameroon. It is similar to soukous, except that it includes strong bass rhythm and a prominent horn section. Makossa, which means " dance" in Duala, originated from a type of Duala dance called kossa, with significant influences...

 and bikutsi
Bikutsi
Bikutsi is a musical genre from Cameroon. It developed from the traditional styles of the Beti, or Ewondo, people, who live around the city of Yaounde. It was popular in the middle of the 20th century in West Africa...

. Makossa developed in Douala and mixes folk music, highlife
Highlife
Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana in the 1900s and spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and other West African countries by 1920...

, soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, and Congo music
Soukous
Soukous is a dance music genre that originated in the two neighbouring countries of Belgian Congo and French Congo during the 1930s and early 1940s, and which has gained popularity throughout Africa...

. Performers such as Manu Dibango
Manu Dibango
-External links:*...

, Francis Bebey
Francis Bebey
Francis Bebey was a Cameroonian artist, musician, and writer.Bebey attended the Sorbonne, and was further educated in the United States...

, Moni Bilé
Moni Bilé
Mono Bilé is a Cameroonian makossa musician. He was the best-selling makossa performer of the 1980s, and his album Amour & Espérance was an international hit that extended the worldwide popularity of the genre.-References:...

, and Petit-Pays
Petit-Pays
Petit-Pays is a Cameroonian musician. By 1996 he had sold over 50,000 cassettes. He is also known as OMEGA, Rabba Rabbi, Turbo and famously Avocat defenseur des femmes . He is one of the most celebrated Cameroonian musicians of the late '80s and '90s...

 popularised the style worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s. Bikutsi originated as war music among the Ewondo. Artists such as Anne-Marie Nzié
Anne-Marie Nzié
Anne-Marie Nzié is a Cameroonian bikutsi singer. In the 1940s, Nzié began performing bikutsi, the music native to her home in central Cameroon. She signed with Pathé Marcom Records. Nzié remained active over the next five decades and helped to popularise bikutsi throughout Cameroon...

 developed it into a popular dance music beginning in the 1940s, and performers such as Mama Ohandja
Mama Ohandja
Mama Ohandja is a Cameroonian singer, musical arranger, dancer and choreographer. In the early 1970s, he became the most prominent musician in the region to marry traditional music with modern international styles, combining tom-toms, traditional balafons and other instruments with electric...

 and Les Têtes Brulées
Les Têtes Brulées
Les Têtes Brulées are a Cameroonian band known for a mellow pop version of the bikutsi dance music. Their name literally means the burnt heads in French, but more likely is meant to imply mindblown or hot heads. They first rose to prominence in the 1980s, and quickly became the most well-known...

 popularised it internationally during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.


Cuisine
Cuisine of Cameroon
Cameroonian cuisine is one of the most varied in Africa due to its location on the crossroads between the north, west, and centre of the continent; added to this is the profound influence of French food, a legacy of the colonial era....

 varies by region, but a large, one-course, evening meal is common throughout the country. A typical dish is based on cocoyams, maize, cassava (manioc), millet, plantains, potatoes, rice, or yams, often pounded into dough-like fufu
Fufu
Fufu, , is a staple snack of West and Central Africa. It is a thick paste usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables in water and pounding with a mortar and pestle until the desired consistency is reached...

 (cous-cous). This is served with a sauce, soup, or stew made from greens, groundnuts, palm oil, or other ingredients. Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions. Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper, and Maggi
Maggi
Maggi is a Nestlé brand of instant soups, stocks, bouillon cubes, ketchups, sauces, seasonings and instant noodles. The original company came into existence in 1872 in Switzerland, when Julius Maggi took over his father's mill. It quickly became a pioneer of industrial food production, aiming at...

. Water, palm wine
Palm wine
Palm wine also called Palm Toddy also called "Kallu" written in Malayalam and கள்ளு in Tamil or simply Toddy is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, and coconut palms...

, and millet beer
Millet beer
Millet beer, also known as Bantu beer, kaffir beer, or opaque beer, is an alcoholic beverage made from malted millet. This type of beer is common throughout Africa. Related African drinks include maize beer and sorghum beer....

 are the traditional mealtime drinks, although beer, soda, and wine have gained popularity. Silverware is common, but food is traditionally manipulated with the right hand. Breakfast consists of leftovers of bread and fruit with coffee or tea, generally breakfast is made from wheat flour various different foods such as puff-puff (doughnuts), accra banana made from bananas and flour,bean cakes and many more. Snacks are popular, especially in larger towns where they may be bought from street vendors.

Traditional arts and crafts are practiced throughout the country for commercial, decorative, and religious purposes. Woodcarvings and sculptures are especially common. The high-quality clay of the western highlands is suitable for pottery and ceramics. Other crafts include basket weaving, beadworking, brass and bronze working, calabash carving and painting, embroidery, and leather working. Traditional housing styles make use of locally available materials and vary from temporary wood-and-leaf shelters of nomadic Mbororo
Wodaabe
The Wodaabe or Bororo are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, and the western region of the Central African Republic....

 to the rectangular mud-and-thatch homes of southern peoples. Dwellings made from materials such as cement and tin are increasingly common.

Contemporary art
Contemporary art
Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II. The definition of the word contemporary would support the first view, but museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced...

 is mainly promoted by independent cultural organizations (Doual'art
Doual'art
doual'art is a no profit cultural organisation and art centre founded in 1991 in Douala, Cameroon and focussed on new urban practices of African cities....

, Africréa) and artist-run initiatives (Art Wash
Art Wash
Art Wash is a studio and an artist-run initiative based in Douala, Cameroon.The name of the art space is related to the fact that Art Wash is situated close to the river and it wishes to be a “laundry for art”, transforming and promoting hand-made art...

, Atelier Viking
Atelier Viking
Atelier Viking is a studio and an artist-run initiative based in Douala, Cameroon.Artist Viking Kanganyam André founded atelier Viking in March 1976 to promote contemporary art in Cameroon. The paucity of art galleries in Douala encouraged Kanganyam to create a space where artists could be trained...

, ArtBakery
ArtBakery
ArtBakery is an art centre based in the village of Bonendale a few kilometers from Douala and founded by Goddy Leye. The centre offers trainings for emerging artists , journalists and residency programs for young artists...

). Douala
Douala
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Province. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country...

 and Yaoundé
Yaoundé
-Transportation:Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. Many bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods...

 are the major cities where the institutions and projects are located. Douala hosts the art biennial DUTA (2005 and 2007) and the art and architecture triennial SUD-Salon Urbain de Douala with site-specific permanent and ephemeral urban interventions; in Yaoundé is located RAVY-Rencontres d'arts visuels de Yaoundé.


Cameroonian literature and film have concentrated on both European and African themes. Colonial-era writers such as Louis-Marie Pouka
Louis-Marie Pouka
Louis-Marie Pouka was a Cameroonian poet who advocated the assimilation of Cameroonian peoples into French culture. Pouka believed that colonialism was part of God's plan to bring African peoples into the wider world...

 and Sankie Maimo
Sankie Maimo
Sankie Maimo was a writer from British Southern Cameroons. Maimo moved to Ibadan, Nigeria, where he worked as a school teacher. There he founded the journal Cameroon Voice in 1955. This was followed by a play called I Am Vindicated, and a children's book called Adventuring with Jaja...

 were educated by European missionary societies and advocated assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 into European culture as the means to bring Cameroon into the modern world. After World War II, writers such as Mongo Beti
Mongo Beti
Alexandre Biyidi Awala , known as Mongo Beti, was a Cameroonian writer.- Life :Though he lived in exile for many decades, Beti's life reveals an unflagging commitment to improvement of his home country...

 and Ferdinand Oyono
Ferdinand Oyono
Ferdinand Léopold Oyono was an author from Cameroon whose work is recognized for a sense of irony that reveals how easily people can be fooled...

 analysed and criticised colonialism and rejected assimilation.

Shortly after independence, filmmakers such as Jean-Paul Ngassa
Jean-Paul Ngassa
Jean-Paul Ngassa is a Cameroonian filmmaker. He made the films Adventure en France and La Grande Case Bamiléké after French Cameroun's independence in 1960.-References:...

 and Thérèse Sita-Bella
Thérèse Sita-Bella
Thérèse Sita-Bella , born Thérèse Bella Mbida, was a Cameroonian filmmaker and pilot, and Cameroon's first female journalist.She was born into the Beti tribe in southern Cameroon, and received her education from Catholic missionaries...

 explored similar themes. In the 1960s, Mongo Beti and other writers explored post-colonialism, problems of African development, and the recovery of African identity. Meanwhile, in the mid-1970s, filmmakers such as Jean-Pierre Dikongué Pipa
Jean-Pierre Dikongué Pipa
Jean-Pierre Dikongué Pipa is a Cameroonian film director and writer. He produced Cameroon's first full-length feature film, Muna-Moto, in 1975...

 and Daniel Kamwa
Daniel Kamwa
Daniel Kamwa is a filmmaker and actor from Nkongsamba, Cameroon. He studied drama in Paris, France, before producing his first film, Boubou-cravate, in 1973.-Filmography as director:*Boubou-cravate, director...

 dealt with the conflicts between traditional and post-colonial society. Literature and films during the next two decades concentrated more on wholly Cameroonian themes.

National policy strongly advocates sport in all forms. Traditional sports include canoe racing and wrestling, and several hundred runners participate in the 40 km (24.9 mi) Mount Cameroon Race of Hope
Mount Cameroon Race of Hope
The Mount Cameroon Race of Hope is an annual, televised footrace held at Mount Cameroon in the Southwest Province of Cameroon in January or February. The 2011 is scheduled for February 26. The event begins at Molyko Sports Complex in Buea and follows a path up Mount Cameroon and back; The...

 each year. Cameroon is one of the few tropical countries to have competed
Cameroon at the 2002 Winter Olympics
Cameroon competed in the Winter Olympic Games for the first time at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, United States. The country sent only one representative.- Cross-country skiing :...

 in the Winter Olympics
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

. However, sport in Cameroon
Sport in Cameroon
Sport in Cameroon is practiced widely by the population and advocated by the national government. Cameroonians take pride in victories at international competitions, making sport an important source of national unity. Traditional sports in Cameroon include canoe racing, swimming, tug of war, and...

 is dominated by association football (soccer). Amateur football clubs abound, organised along ethnic lines or under corporate sponsors. The Cameroon national football team
Cameroon national football team
The Cameroon national football team, nicknamed Les Lions Indomptables , is controlled by the Fédération Camerounaise de Football and is Africa's most successful side in FIFA world cup; having qualified for the FIFA World Cup six times – in 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010– more than any...

 has been one of the most successful in the world since its strong showing in the 1990 FIFA World Cup
1990 FIFA World Cup
The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice. Teams representing 116 national football associations from all six populated...

. Cameroon has won four African Cup of Nations
African Cup of Nations
The Africa Cup of Nations, also referred to as the African Cup of Nations or African Nations Cup, officially CAN , is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football , and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been...

 titles and the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. Samuel Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o Fils is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala. He is also the current captain of the Cameroon national team.Eto'o trained at Kadji Sports Academy...

 and the Cameroon national team did not make it out of the group stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

.

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