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French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the southern portion of neighboring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon. The country has generally enjoyed stability, which has enabled the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.


Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Natural Resources

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Population - distribution

population concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated

24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
YAOUNDE (capital) 3.066 million; Douala 2.943 million (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of Cameroon
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republique du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroon
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
3 52 N, 11 31 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
Cameroon’s market-based, diversified economy features oil and gas, timber, aluminum, agriculture, mining and the service sector. Oil remains Cameroon’s main export commodity, and despite falling global oil prices, still accounts for nearly 40% of exports. Cameroon’s economy suffers from factors that often impact underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, continuing inefficiencies of a large parastatal system in key sectors, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.
External debt stocks
US$ 6,557,798,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -1,173,219,339
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 6,903,001,686
Exports of goods and services
US$ 5,531,165,261
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 694,057,557
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 1,441,120,483
coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc, tapioca); livestock; timber
petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
China 16.6%, India 16%, Spain 6.2%, Belgium 6.1%, France 6.1%, Portugal 5.5%, Netherlands 5%, Italy 4.9% (2015)
machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
China 27.9%, Nigeria 13.9%, France 10.9%, Belgium 4.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Agricultural, oil and mining resources
  • Diversified economy compared with that of other oil exporters
  • Ongoing infrastructure modernization
  • Debt reduction granted in 2006 as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief initiative
  • External and public accounts dependent on oil
  • Rapid rise in debt due to ambitious public investment program
  • Lack of inclusive growth and still difficult business climate
  • Insecurity in the far north of the country and uncertainty surrounding the succession to the Head of State

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