The Republic of Cameroon is a country in West Africa and has more than 23 million inhabitants. The country was created on January 1, 1961, by the merger of the French-colonized country and part of British Cameroon.
Cameroon is surrounded by seven countries in West Africa: Nigeria and Chad and is about eleven times larger than the Netherlands. The political capital is Yaoundé, but the economic capital is the port city of Douala, which borders the Atlantic Ocean.
Cameroon is a republic headed by a president.
The president is both the head of state and the head of government. The country has a multi-party system. Politically, Cameroon is a stable country, but it also has its problems.
The human rights situation has improved in recent years, but remains inadequate. Abuse, such as random arrests and mistreatment of detainees, is still being reported. There are regular protests against this violation, but also against the prohibition of homosexuality. The judiciary is often still inefficient and corrupt.
The press is freer than before, since censorship was abolished in 1996. The country has a number of independent newspapers, but the government sometimes intervenes with newspapers and arrest journalists.
And even though Cameroon is a republic, the old power structures still exist, as in many other African countries. In Cameroon the old tribal kings (called Fon’s) have a lot of informal power and a minister will often consult with them before certain policy measures are implemented.
Cameroon has long been a stable country, but unrest has increased rapidly in this West African country since November 2016. see newsletter
Corruption in Cameroon
One of the problems in Cameroon is the continuing corruption. Not only at government level but at all levels of society. Cameroon is in place 136 in the list of 175 countries according to the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International.
This organization annually measures corruption within the public sector of countries. For comparison: the Netherlands is in 8th place.
More than 23 million people live in Cameroon. Of these, almost 8 million are under 18 and nearly 2.5 million are under 5. The average life expectancy is 48 years. The death rate in Cameroon is 17 per 1,000 residents and the birth rate 35 per 1,000 residents.
About half of the population lives in the countryside, the other half in the cities.
Half of the children between 5 and 14 years old do child labor. Children up to 11 years work an average of 28 hours a week. In the 12-14 year age category, this is a 42-hour working week.
More than 230 ethnic groups live in Cameroon. It is, more than other African countries, a “many nations”
They all have their own dialect.
There are different religions in Cameroon: Christianity, Islam and animism. Christians are divided into Catholics and Protestants. Animism is a nature religion in which spirit and ancestor worship are the most important.
Despite the diversity of beliefs, people live side by side peacefully.
Christians live mainly in the south and the west of the country. Islam dominates northern Cameroon.
In comparison with other African countries, Cameroon is not doing badly in terms of education. In 2010, 78.3% of boys and 64.8% of girls 15 and older could read and write.
Like other African countries, Cameroon has to deal with rising poverty. More than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. The economy is primarily based on agriculture. In addition to food crops such as corn, beans and “sorghum” for their own use, they also grow coffee, cotton, rubber, bananas and cocoa for export.
The oil reserves are exhausted and used to be the main source of income for the country. In addition, Cameroon, although slightly less than other African countries, is in a stranglehold of foreign debts. The obligations towards their creditors and the unbalanced internal distribution policy are largely responsible for this impoverishment. Nevertheless, there is a small economic growth. This growth is based on forest exploitation, but the number of people who can benefit from this is very limited. The most important products imported by Cameroon are machines, electronics, means of transport, fuels and food. The most important exporters of goods to Cameroon are China, France and Nigeria.
Healthcare in Cameroon is priceless for many. Social insurance does not exist. That is why traditional medicine still plays an important role. In most hospitals you also have to pay before a doctor or nurse checks your health.
63% of the population has access to drinking water. In the cities this rises to 84%, but in the countryside this is only 41%. The government organizes free vaccinations for all children. The HIV / AIDS virus is also fierce in Cameroon. Just under 7% of 15 to 49 year olds are infected with HIV / AIDS. There are currently around 560,000 infected people in the entire population.
Of the women, only 46% of women know that the use of a condom has a preventive effect against HIV / AIDS.
Figures about men are unknown. 26% of women aged 15 to 49 regularly use contraceptives.